PHILADELPHIA -- Rafael Marchan is known for his defensive prowess behind the plate. As a hitter? Well, he did not homer in 846 career plate appearances in the Minor Leagues entering this season.
Marchan joined the Phillies this week after J.T. Realmuto suffered a strained left hip flexor. He never played above Class A Advanced Clearwater, which kept expectations low.
A second-inning strikeout in Game 2 of Friday's seven-inning doubleheader against the Blue Jays at Citizens Bank Park brought his Major League and Minor League career plate appearances to an even 850. Then, he hit a three-run home run to right field in the fourth inning -- which tied the game at 5 -- and the Phillies went on to win, 8-7.
What a time to go yard for the first time.
“That’s the best feeling,” Marchan said. “I was happy running the bases and everything. Now I’m here enjoying the moment and trying to help the Phillies win.”
“I just gave him a hug,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said.
Marchan, who is the organization’s No. 8 prospect per MLB Pipeline, smoked a 1-2 cutter from A.J. Cole a projected 364 feet, per Statcast. The ball left his bat at 99.6 mph.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Marchan became the youngest Philadelphia catcher to homer in a game at 21 years, 206 days old, and the youngest Phillies player to homer since Scott Rolen (21 years, 155 days) on Sept. 6, 1996, against the Cubs. The last catcher in the Majors to homer at a younger age than Marchan was the Royals' Salvador Perez, who did so during each of his first three career homers between Aug. 29-Sept. 23, 2011 (from 21 years, 111 days to 21 years, 136 days old).
Maybe Marchan felt it coming. He said he hit a home run last week at the team’s alternate training site in Allentown, Pa.
“I’m thinking, the power is here,” Marchan said. “Let’s try to hit a good pitch and see what happens. There’s no better way to hit my first homer in my pro career than in the big leagues.”
Previously, Marchan said he last hit a home run in a game that counted in the instructional league a couple years ago.
“I was so fired up for him, I was so happy for him,” Bryce Harper said. “I’m so happy for him and his family. That’s a huge moment, a huge opportunity for him. A three-run shot to tie the game in that moment. I mean, come on now. Very excited for him, very happy for him.”
• Girardi said Realmuto ran at 70 percent Friday. He might not play until next week.
“He felt much better than he did yesterday, so that’s encouraging,” Girardi said. “You won’t see him in there tomorrow, but hopefully he’s turning the corner.”
• Jean Segura could return to the lineup Saturday. He got hit in his left triceps with a pitch on Thursday.