Realmuto sidelined with fractured thumb; status unclear for Opening Day

Phillies announce Realmuto to be sidelined
J
.T. Realmuto is dealing with a fractured thumb on his right hand that will be immobilized for two weeks, leaving his status for Opening Day in jeopardy. 

The injury occurred six days ago when he attempted to block a breaking ball from Jose Alvarado in the dirt. 

"There are some injuries that you just can't avoid," said Phillies manager Joe Girardi. 

Realmuto said he initially thought it was a bone bruise because he didn't feel pain while hitting, but he had difficulty grasping and throwing. He participated in workouts on Wednesday. 

"Yesterday was the first time I tried to play catch and it just didn't feel right," Realmuto said. "I didn't think it was going to be a big deal because I was able to hit no problem. I was shocked when I found out it was fractured." 

Realmuto inked a five-year deal last month with the Phillies for $115.5 million. He's widely regarded as the best catcher in baseball. 

"We are going to be cautious, just to make sure it has time to heal so I don't mess it up by trying to do something," Realmuto said. "I'm confident I'll be back by Opening Day." 

The Phillies signed veteran catcher Jeff Mathis on Tuesday to a minor league deal and invited him to Spring Training. The 38-year-old spent the last two seasons in Texas and is a career .194 hitter. He's a wiz defensively though and now has an opportunity - depending on what happens with Realmuto - to get a serious look in camp. 

"He's really good at catching and handling a staff." Girardi said. "People love throwing to him." 

Andrew Knapp is likely to open the season as Realmuto's backup, with 21-year-old Rafael Marchan also in the mix and on the 40-man roster.
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BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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