J.T. Realmuto (thumb) will make his spring debut tonight. He’ll bat second and catch in Tuesday’s Grapefruit League game against the Toronto Blue Jays in Clearwater. Adam Haseley (left adductor) will serve as a backup outfielder in Tuesday’s game and start in center field against the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland, Florida on Wednesday.
Realmuto is recovering from a fractured right thumb, an injury he suffered while catching a Jose Alvarado bullpen session prior to the beginning of camp. He’s played in multiple simulated games and while he’ll only catch around four to five innings on Tuesday, the Phillies catcher is on track to be ready to start the season opener against Atlanta on April 1.
Realmuto is scheduled to play in another sim game on Wednesday, start again on Thursday and get another X-ray on either Thursday or Friday.
“We feel pretty good about where he’s at,” Joe Girardi said in his pregame media availability.
It appears Haseley is beating the initial four-week timetable for his injury by quite a bit. His status for Opening Day is still up in the air. He suffered the adductor strain on March 4 while running the bases in a Grapefruit League game.
“It depends on how he feels,” Girardi said, “what his at-bats are like. Again, we’re not going to rush anybody because we got to make sure that guys are ready to go. Obviously, he was playing pretty well before the injury. We’ll just see where he’s at.”
Time isn’t on Haseley’s side, but if he produces in the final seven games of spring, he could win the starting job in center field. The 24-year-old is a long shot to make the first start of the season since the Phillies are expected to face a left-handed pitcher in Max Fried. He was in the starting lineup against a left-handed starter twice all last season. At this stage, the Phillies will be happy if Haseley is healthy enough to avoid an IL stint to begin the season.
If you’re wondering where you can find tonight’s game, the Phillies are streaming it for free on their website. Zack Wheeler will start and he’ll be followed by Archie Bradley, Brandon Kintzler, Tony Watson and Neftalí Féliz, who is making his spring debut. Féliz’s initial arrival in camp was delayed due to visa issues.
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