Realmuto on track; Herrera keeps on going

March 6th, 2021

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- offered a couple reporters a thumbs-up Saturday morning at BayCare Ballpark.

Realmuto could not do that Thursday, as he still had a hard cast on his right thumb and wrist. But after he received positive results from X-rays on Thursday, doctors removed the cast and fitted him with a splint. Realmuto will get more X-rays next Thursday. If his fractured thumb continues to heal, he will start taping it up and work without a splint.

Opening Day is 26 days away.

"Everything's still on time," Realmuto said. "From [next Thursday], it'll give me three weeks to get ready for the season. Which, I mean, that's plenty of time -- in my opinion. That's what we had for the Summer Camp last year."

Realmuto has kept busy since he broke his thumb a few days before Phillies' camp opened last month, when he tried to block a ball in the dirt from hard-throwing left-hander José Alvarado.

Realmuto has not hit or thrown since then.

"Which sounds like a huge deal," Realmuto said, "but I've been able to keep my body in shape this whole time, which is actually more important once games start. Having my body ready to play. So being able to still go through camp and practice and everything has kept me in shape at least. Catching a ton of bullpen [sessions]. We've been doing simulated game stuff. While the game is going on, we'll simulate me catching a few innings."

Even if Realmuto loses the splint next week, he is not expected to begin throwing immediately.

"That's where I felt the most pain from this injury," Realmuto said. "I'll be able to start hitting, at least taking swings right away. Throwing will probably take a few extra days."

Realmuto has been pseudo-throwing. He explained that he has been using a bag contraption that wraps around his right wrist. He holds a softball and releases the ball with his index and middle fingers.

"You're throwing the ball into the bag," Realmuto said. "It just doesn't go anywhere. I'm able to keep my arm in shape that way. … And I've been able to do one-handed swinging. Do a lot of weighted swinging, so my body will be as ready as it can be. It'll be more about timing for me when I get back. Three weeks of timing should be good for me."

Nobody in the Phillies' camp seems worried about Realmuto's return. If he cannot make the Opening Day lineup, it should not be much longer than that.

Andrew Knapp can handle it in the meantime.

"That could be a scenario we have to go to," Realmuto said. "We'll just have to play it out, because it's too hard to tell right now, like, how my thumb's going to bounce back. As far as getting everyday at-bats right away. Who knows how that's going to go? So we're just going to have to play it by ear and see how it feels."

Herrera keeps on going
Odúbel Herrera went 1-for-3 with a run scored in a 7-1 loss to the Blue Jays in Dunedin. He continues to make his case for a job on the Opening Day roster. He flied out to the warning track in the first inning, just missing his pitch. He singled hard through the hole to right in the fourth and eventually scored on a wild pitch.

Bo Bichette crushed a first-inning pitch and sent a line drive to center field, but Herrera made a nice turn and catch on the warning track.

"Outstanding catch," Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. "Another good day for Odúbel."

The only thing that went wrong? Herrera did not pack his jersey for the short trip from Clearwater. He wore a generic No. 93 jersey instead of his regular No. 37.

De Los Santos mows down the big boys
Right-hander Enyel De Los Santos looks different this spring. He struck out the side in the fifth inning Saturday: George Springer swinging on a 96 mph fastball, Bichette swinging on a slider and Marcus Semien on a foul tip off a 95 mph fastball. De Los Santos' fastball averaged 93.3 mph in 2019, the last time he pitched for the Phillies.

De Los Santos, who was ranked the club's No. 9 prospect last season, remains a long shot to make the Opening Day roster, but he could put himself in the mix for a promotion to the bullpen at some point.

"Your job as a player is to put yourself on the radar and make yourself an option," Girardi said. "He's made some adjustments from last year. They seem to be really helping. He went through some big boys in that lineup."

Extra bases
• Right-hander Aaron Nola threw a simulated game in the morning at BayCare.

• Third baseman Alec Bohm doubled and made a nice defensive play moving to his right in the loss to the Blue Jays.

• Bryce Harper will DH in Sunday's game against the Yankees in Tampa. He might not play in right field until after the Phillies' off day on March 18 as he builds up his throwing progression. The Phillies and Harper are taking things slowly after he battled back issues late last season.