Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi said Tuesday that he still believes the team “has a little bit of time” before catcher J.T. Realmuto is ready for game action, though the two-time All-Star does appear to be progressing well in his return from a right thumb fracture.
Last Thursday, Realmuto was cleared to begin baseball activities, as he works his way back from an injury he sustained at the outset of the spring in a bullpen session with new reliever José Alvarado. Girardi says that Realmuto, who will turn 30 on Thursday, is now taking batting practice on the field and is up to throwing from 120 feet.
Realmuto – a few months removed from signing a new five-year/$115.5 million deal – is expected to receive another X-Ray on Thursday, which will determine how the Phillies proceed. As is, the Phillies haven’t said that Realmuto 100% will be in the lineup on opening day, but you get the feeling that it would take some sort of setback to prevent him from playing against the Atlanta Braves on April 1.
If Realmuto is catching on opening day, the expectation is that Aaron Nola will be throwing to him. Should Nola toe the rubber on opening day, it would mark the fourth consecutive season he got the ball to begin the season, making him the first Phillie to do that since Hall of Famer Steve Carlton. Girardi hasn’t confirmed that Nola will start to begin the year, but he came pretty close to doing so Tuesday.
“I have not [let Nola know], but you know the saying about tea leaves,” Girardi said with a smile on his face.
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