The Phillies kicked off Spring Training with some brutal news for fans. Star catcher J.T. Realmuto recently sustained a small fracture in his right thumb, manager Joe Girardi announced to reporters (Twitter link via MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki). The injury occurred six days ago when catching a bullpen session, tweets Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Realmuto’s thumb will be immobilized for the next two weeks, and while the Phils are hopeful he’ll be ready for Opening Day, there’s no guarantee that’ll be the case. It’s certainly not the way the team or Realmuto hoped to kick off his newly inked five-year, $115.5MM contract.
Realmuto will be reevaluated after that immobilization period, at which point the club will have a better timeline for his return to games. If Realmuto is forced onto the injured list to begin the season, the Phillies would likely turn to Andrew Knapp as the primary catcher in his absence. Rafael Marchan could get a look as the backup role in that scenario, given that he’s already on the 40-man roster. If not Marchan, one of Jeff Mathis or Christian Bethancourt could get the nod. Both would need to be added to the 40-man roster, however, as they’re in Spring Training as non-roster invitees at the moment.