PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies kept waiting for J.T. Realmuto's bruised left hand to heal enough to avoid a trip to the injured list.
It never happened.
They finally placed him on the 10-day IL on Friday. It is retroactive to Tuesday, meaning Realmuto cannot return to action until the May 29 series opener against the Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla. Teams can backdate a trip to the IL by no more than three days. If the Phillies had immediately placed him on the IL on Sunday, he could have played as early as Wednesday against the Marlins in Miami.
It seems like the Phillies have been playing shorthanded on the bench for weeks because players have been nursing minor injuries.
“Unfortunately, we’ve had a lot of injuries, so we’re in a position where being short [is something] that’s happened too much,” Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said before Friday’s series opener against the Red Sox. “But it’s not done because were waiting [for a] star player … it’s really always medically oriented.
“Like, in J.T.’s case, he was doing fine. He got sick [last week], comes back Saturday [against Toronto in Dunedin], feels it. Then Sunday the doctor wants to do a full workup on Monday with him, so they do a full workup, they find nothing structurally wrong, so they figured that they’d treat it and he should be able to go about Thursday, Friday. It’s not getting better, so finally you have to make a decision. But if somebody would have told me three days ago, go ahead and put him on the list, we would have done it. So, unfortunately, it’s been a lot of these day to day type things. Really, there’s something every single day.”
The Phillies activated outfielder Matt Joyce to take Realmuto’s spot on the 26-man roster.
Former Phillies hurler Pivetta on a roll
The Phillies have starting pitching concerns, so it should not be lost on anybody that former Phillies right-hander Nick Pivetta is 5-0 with a 3.59 ERA in nine starts with the Red Sox this year. The Phillies traded Pivetta and prospect Connor Seabold in August for right-handers Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree.
The trade bombed. Workman and Hembree did not pitch well last season and are no longer with the team.
Pivetta went 19-30 with a 5.50 ERA in 92 appearances (71 starts) with the Phillies. He fell out of favor at one point and bounced from the rotation to the bullpen to Triple-A Lehigh Valley the final two seasons before being traded.
“Obviously, change of scenery is always a thing,” Pivetta said. “I never thought it would be a thing for me, but it was a thing. I think it was that and a combination of just believing in myself and being comfortable and knowing that I have a second chance. I worked really hard, I came back. I didn’t throw very well at the end with Philly, and I’ve been throwing well since. I’ve made the right adjustments that I’ve needed to make. It’s a lot more fun and a lot easier when you’re going out, you’re competing in baseball games. Everything is going right, so you can focus how to continue going right instead of fighting for your life.”
What adjustments with the Red Sox helped?
“They gave me the confidence in myself,” Pivetta said. “They valued me. They traded for me, which was really, really nice of them. They valued me as a starter, which was huge. They kind of just let me be me, but they’ve helped me. [Pitching coach Dave Bush] helped me quite a bit with commanding my pitches, using my pitches. [Game planning coordinator Jason] Varitek has helped me out. It’s not just moving and change scenery. It’s also different verbiage, different ways people have talked to me, and I’ve been able to grow and understand that knowledge a little bit better and it’s helped me.”
Pivetta allowed six runs in one-third of an inning against the Braves in his final game for the Phillies on Aug. 10, 2020. Phillies manager Joe Girardi spoke to Pivetta on the bullpen phone, explaining why they wanted him to pitch in a 13-1 game.
The Phillies won, 13-8, but they optioned Pivetta the next day.
Pivetta faced the Braves in the final game of Boston's 2020 season. He allowed one run in five innings.
“I didn’t pitch good, I wasn’t comfortable,” Pivetta said about his final days with the Phillies. “I was trying too hard. I didn’t have success. I was good for a little bit, then some things changed. I needed to pitch better at the end of the day and I wasn’t. We made the adjustments here and we’re doing really good right now.”
Velasquez is OK
Girardi said right-hander Vince Velasquez is expected to make his next start Tuesday against the Marlins. He could not pitch Thursday because of numbness in his right index finger.
“It checked out good, so our hope is he can,” Girardi said.