Initially expected to make his Spring Training debut as a designated hitter this afternoon, J.T. Realmuto wound up scratched from the lineup. It seems there’s no cause for alarm, with Phillies manager Joe Girardi saying the star catcher just had some general body soreness after working in a simulated game yesterday (via Todd Zolecki of MLB.com). The Phillies continue to hope Realmuto will be available on Opening Day, with Girardi reiterating to MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (Twitter link) that “the important day (in his recovery) is April 1.” Realmuto suffered a fracture in his right thumb last month.
More from the National League:
- Like Realmuto, Padres catcher Austin Nola is recovering from a broken digit (in his case, a fractured left middle finger). Nola will test his ability to grip a bat in the next couple days, says manager Jayce Tingler, who expressed some optimism the backstop could be ready for Opening Day (via Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune). It seems the more likely outcome is a brief injured list stint, as Acee notes the typical timeline for a return from similar injuries is four-to-six weeks. Nola suffered his break March 13, a little less than three weeks before the season opener. If the 31-year-old indeed hits the IL, the Padres would open with a Víctor Caratini/Luis Campusano catching tandem.
- Rockies reliever Tyler Kinley has been sidelined the past two weeks with left oblique soreness, writes Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. Kinley is scheduled to throw a simulated game tomorrow but manager Bud Black acknowledged a season-opening injured list stint is a possibility. Bullpen mate Scott Oberg looks likely to be on the Opening Day roster, Black says (via Saunders). That’s welcome news, as the quality right-hander missed the entire 2020 season due to recurring blood clots in his throwing arm. Oberg underwent thoracic outlet surgery last September.
- Nicky Delmonico went to high school with Reds centerfielder Nick Senzel, and they may have a chance to be teammates in Cincinnati. Delmonico is 6-for-17 in Spring Training after signing a minor league deal. That performance, as well as his ability to play first base, has the Reds considering selecting the non-roster invitee’s contract, per Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Shogo Akiyama will start the year on the injured list, and with first baseman Joey Votto uncertain for Opening Day after contracting COVID-19, Delmonico’s particular brand of versatility may fit the bill. In four seasons with the White Sox, Delmonico owns a .224/.312/.384 triple slash line across 574 plate appearances with a 24.0 percent strikeout rate and solid 9.8 percent walk rate.