PHILADELPHIA -- J.T. Realmuto owns a first baseman’s mitt, but it is not broken in enough to be trusted because he has not practiced at the position since Spring Training. So, if Realmuto plays first base as expected on Sunday, he will use Rhys Hoskins’ mitt instead.
“It’s just a way to keep me in the lineup as much as possible,” Realmuto said before Saturday night’s game against the D-backs. “On a day we’re facing a lefty, kind of like tomorrow, it gets me at first base and that way Brad [Miller] can get an off-day. And then I’ll be able to stay in the lineup. We’ve been talking about it really since Rhys’ injury … when we knew he wasn’t going to be playing as much.”
But there could be another benefit to Realmuto playing first base. He has been playing with a sore right shoulder for some time. Perhaps playing there could reduce some wear and tear.
“It doesn’t feel great every day, but kind of here and there some days it’ll be a little more sore than others,” he said. “Some days it will feel really good. … Everybody on the field is feeling some sort of tired or some sort of pain right now. Mine just happens to be in my shoulder. I feel it a little bit hitting. I feel it sometimes throwing, but I don’t think it’s actually affecting my play at all.”
Realmuto said the shoulder issue has not necessitated an MRI exam.
“It’s just normal everyday wear and tear,” he said. “Nothing too bad. … I don’t think necessarily that [playing first base] will protect it. I think the first base thing is more about getting to play and being able to be in the lineup more often.”
Realmuto did not play Saturday because he was supposed to have Friday off, but caught when Andrew Knapp landed on the COVID-19 injured list.
“He would have caught today had he not caught yesterday,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said.
Rafael Marchan caught on Saturday. Ronald Torreyes is the team’s emergency catcher now that Luke Williams is on the COVID-19 IL.
Girardi said Bryce Harper offered to catch. Harper caught as a teenager.
“I don't really see myself doing that,” Girardi said with a grin.
Eflin’s season likely over
Zach Eflin’s chances of pitching again this season seemed slim when he got scratched from Wednesday’s start because of tendinitis in his right knee. The Phillies had just activated Eflin from the 10-day IL when the knee flared up again.
Then on Friday the Phillies placed Eflin on the COVID-19 IL. It means he will be away from the team for at least 10 days.
It further reduces his already slim chance of pitching with five weeks remaining in the regular season.
“I would say that's probably fair, yeah,” Girardi said. “I would think so, because it's not like you're going to be doing a lot of throwing, probably.”