MAY 14: The Phillies announced that they have reinstated Realmuto and optioned righty Enyel De Los Santos to Triple-A.
MAY 13: 10:40am: Realmuto did not test positive, manager Joe Girardi tells reporters (link via Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia). He developed a fever and grew ill last night, however, so the Phils have moved him to the Covid list to perform testing. He is not traveling with the team at the moment.
10:10am: The Phillies announced this morning that catcher J.T. Realmuto has been placed on the Covid-19-related injured list. Fellow catcher Rafael Marchan is up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take his spot on the active roster for the time being.
The team did not indicate at this time whether Realmuto has tested positive or is on the Covid list as a close contact or for contact-tracing purposes. In the event of a positive test, he’d be away from the club for a minimum of 10 days.
Realmuto, 30, is out to the finest start of his career in 2021, slashing a robust .314/.418/.520 with four homers, seven doubles, a triple and three steals through his first 33 games. That excellent production comes despite suffering a fractured thumb that cost him much of Spring Training. Recently, Realmuto has missed a couple games due to a minor knee injury, though the expectation had been that he’d avoid the IL for that particular issue.
With Realmuto sidelined for a yet-to-be-determined period of time, the Phillies will turn catching duties over to Andrew Knapp and the aforementioned Marchan. That pairing certainly can’t be expected to replicate Realmuto’s contributions at the plate — few catchers could — but Knapp did turn in a .278/.404/.444 line through 89 plate appearances last year. He’s out to a much slower start in 2021, however, and is an overall .228/.332/.345 hitter in 712 Major League plate appearances. The 22-year-old Marchan is one of the organization’s top prospects and is out to a .250/.429/.313 start through 21 plate appearances in Triple-A. He went 4-for-8 with a homer and a walk in a brief MLB debut effort last summer.