WASHINGTON -- J.T. Realmuto said he does not believe the popping in the back of his right knee is a serious concern.
The Phillies scheduled an MRI exam for Realmuto on Monday night to be certain. Realmuto said he aggravated his knee running to first base on a double-play ground ball in the fifth inning Sunday night in Cleveland. He felt discomfort in the knee in the bottom of the fifth and left the game in the eighth.
The Indians’ orthopedist and the Phillies’ head athletic trainer, Scott Sheridan, examined Realmuto on Sunday and neither had major concerns, according to Phillies manager Gabe Kapler.
“It would pop, just a little discomfort,” Realmuto said. “It wasn’t really painful [Sunday], but I woke up [Monday] and it was a little more tender, a little more pain. Definitely sore.
“To be honest with you, I’ve had a little issue in the back of my knee for the last two or three years. I don’t know if this is just an instance where it finally flared up enough to feel it a little bit more, but I felt fresher this September than I’ve ever felt in any years in the past. I don’t think it has anything to do with the workload. I just think it was just a bad luck kind of thing.”
Realmuto is having a fantastic first season with the Phillies. He is batting .275 with 36 doubles, three triples, 25 home runs, 83 RBIs and an .820 OPS. He set career highs in runs (92), doubles, home runs and RBIs. He is on pace to set a career high in slugging percentage (.493). Offensively, he could win a second consecutive National League Silver Slugger Award.
Defensively, Realmuto should be a lock to win his first Gold Glove Award. He has started 130 games behind the plate, 12 more than any other catcher in baseball entering Monday. He has caught 82 2/3 innings more than anybody. He has thrown out 37 baserunners, 15 more than anybody. He is tied for seventh in framing runs (10.3), according to Baseball Prospectus.
Realmuto’s 5.6 Wins Above Replacement entering Monday was tied for sixth among position players in the National League.
For all those reasons and more, Realmuto and the Phillies want to make sure he is OK to play in the season’s final week, if he plays at all.
“That’s kind of the reason we’re going to get the MRI,” Realmuto said. “I want to make sure that there’s nothing I can damage further. If there is, then we’re going to be smart about it. Because we all know where we stand right now in the standings. I don’t want to push it and risk hurting myself for next year or anything like that.”
Realmuto said last week that he could see himself being with the Phillies for the rest of his career. The Phils are expected to try to sign him to a contract extension in the offseason.