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Notes: J.T. weighs future; Girardi's first day

@ToddZolecki
February 17, 2020

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto is ready for everything except the flight Tuesday to Phoenix. His salary arbitration hearing with the Phillies is Wednesday. He filed at $12.4 million. The Phillies countered at $10 million. Either way, he will set a record for an arbitration-eligible catcher, and have

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto is ready for everything except the flight Tuesday to Phoenix.

His salary arbitration hearing with the Phillies is Wednesday. He filed at $12.4 million. The Phillies countered at $10 million. Either way, he will set a record for an arbitration-eligible catcher, and have life-changing money. In that sense, he said he is not concerned about Wednesday. He said he will be happy either way.

“One way or the other, I’m going to be playing baseball here in Philly this year,” Realmuto said.

Beyond 2020 is unclear. Realmuto can become a free agent after the season. The Phillies have stated their strong desire to sign him to a multi-year contract extension once the arbitration result is announced. They hope it happens before Opening Day.

If not, is Realmuto open to negotiating during the season? Some players prefer to avoid the distraction.

“It’s something I’ll sit down and talk with my agent about,” he said. “We haven’t gotten there yet because we obviously haven’t even started having those conversations [about a contract extension]. But I’ll have that conversation with my agent, and we’ll communicate with [general manager] Matt [Klentak] and let them know how we feel.”

Cutch says he’ll be ready
Andrew McCutchen is eight months removed from ACL surgery on his left knee. His workouts are limited as the Phillies held their first full-squad workout Monday, but he still hopes to be ready by Opening Day.

“That's the plan for me,” he said. “The plan for me is to be ready. I'm doing everything I've got to do to get ready. Most times I'm getting here at 8 o'clock and leaving at 3, and I'm not sitting down. I'm on the go, I'm on the go. Like right now, I'm about to leave right here, get in the pool to warm up, and just grind today. That's what I'm going to continue to do until I'm ready.”

Joe’s first day
Phillies manager Joe Girardi spoke to the team before Monday’s workout.

The message? He wants the hearts of his players. If he has their hearts, then he will get their best on the field.

“It's basically about preparing the right way,” Girardi said. “Understanding that competition has not started. The importance of being responsible in your work, being responsible to each other. Being accountable to each other. Those sort of things.”

Any talk about playing in October?

“That will come later,” he said. “I have spoken to a number of guys about the way I handle pitchers and position players. The real prize is in the month of October. It's a grind getting through six months. Sometimes you need a day off. We're all good with that. But the real prize is always in the month of October. And, every once in a while, November.”

Practice the good stuff
After some base running drills Monday, Girardi had his players practice their home run trots.

“Just have some fun,” he said. “And, remember, make sure you run hard before you know it's out. … I said the big thing is if you run hard to first, there is a great chance it'll be out by then. Then you don't get caught on first base or caught on second base when you should be a base ahead. Just run hard.”

Extra bases
• Right-hander Tommy Hunter, who is returning from elbow surgery, threw 25 fastballs off the mound. He is hopeful he can be ready by Opening Day.

• The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that former Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. will work as a studio analyst this season on NBC Sports Philadelphia. He also might be making regular appearances on 94 WIP.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook .