Here’s what to know about Realmuto’s injury

June 12th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Todd Zolecki's Phillies Beat newsletter, with's Paul Casella filling on this edition. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

BOSTON -- It wouldn’t be hard to form an argument that is the most important player to the Phillies.

He’s been one of the best -- and most durable -- catchers in the Majors for the past decade. He manages the best starting rotation in MLB while spending countless hours studying and game-planning for every opponent. He’s a consistent offensive contributor.

And he has the respect of everyone in the Phillies’ clubhouse.

So needless to say, it was a tough blow for the National League-leading Phils when it was revealed that Realmuto will undergo right knee meniscectomy surgery on Wednesday in Philadelphia.

The news brings with it many questions, from how long he will be out to who will fill the catching void to how this may impact the Phillies long term. We did our best to answer all of that -- and more -- below.

When will Realmuto return?

Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said they expect Realmuto to miss “about a month,” which lines up nicely with this year’s All-Star break from July 15-18. Realmuto could potentially target the club’s second-half opener in Pittsburgh on July 19, which will be five weeks and two days from his surgery date.

Why did he push through it for so long? And why get the surgery now?

Realmuto first felt knee pain on May 4 against the Giants, but he mostly played through it aside from missing three straight games from May 12-14. Though imaging revealed a small tear in his meniscus, the club managed Realmuto’s workload with more rest days than usual. And he seemed to be getting better until last week, when the pain became more “persistent,” according to Dombrowski.

"If anybody could, it would be him,” Dombrowski said of Realmuto playing through it. “But it just got too bad."

It was at that point that the Phillies decided Realmuto would undergo the procedure when the club returned from the London Series. With Philadelphia holding a 10-game lead on Atlanta in the NL East and a five-game edge on Los Angeles for the best record in the NL, now is as good a time as any -- especially with the All-Star break providing some extra recovery time.

“I'd rather get it done now -- as he would,” Dombrowski said. “Get it taken care of and then know that he's coming back, rather than it stir up later in the year and then have to do it at an inopportune time down the stretch.”

How will the Phillies handle the catcher spot?

and Rafael Marchán will each see playing time. Neither offers a ton of upside offensively, but the Phillies are confident with their ability to handle a pitching staff.

“We're all comfortable with Stubby and Marchán,” manager Rob Thomson said. “I think for the outset, it's probably going to be back and forth -- day on, day off, day on, day off.”

What’s the scouting report on Marchán?

Recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday, Marchán has been a member of the organization since 2015. He’s impressed at times, particularly defensively, but he’s had trouble staying healthy.

Marchán has never played more than 88 games in a professional season. He played only 70 games between two Minor League levels in 2022 and 55 games between three levels in ’23.

“Marchán has always been a really good catcher and can handle a staff, when healthy,” Thomson said. "For the last couple of days -- we kind of knew this was going to happen -- he's been doing a lot of book work with [pitching coach Caleb Cotham] and looking at different statistics and all the game-planning that we do, and he's really done a lot of studying. He's very good at that. He can really catch. He can really throw. He can really block. Defensively, he's really good."

What depth do they have beyond Stubbs and Marchán?

If either Stubbs or Marchán get hurt, veteran catcher would be the Phillies’ next internal option. Garcia homered for the third time in his past six games with Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday night, but he’s still hitting just .164 with a .501 OPS with the IronPigs this season.

Does this affect the club’s Trade Deadline plans?

Obviously, Realmuto’s recovery could change this, as could the performances of Stubbs and Marchán, but Dombrowski had a simple answer when asked this question on Tuesday.

“Not at this point, no,” he said.