MIAMI -- The Phillies were ahead Sunday by nine runs when J.T. Realmuto returned to the dugout and reported that his left hamstring was not right. The catcher, who has played 13 straight games since being briefly sidelined by a groin injury, felt his tightness as he rounded third base in the team’s seven-run sixth inning. The Phillies decided that was enough to show caution.
“I’ve been playing a lot lately, he told me,” Realmuto said of manager Gabe Kapler. “So just trying to be cautious. No big deal.”
Realmuto reiterated that his injury -- which he labeled as “just a little standard tightness thing” -- was not serious. But there is always a bit of concern when one of the team’s most important players leaves the game with an injury. The Phillies are off Monday, providing Realmuto with a built-in day of rest before Tuesday’s series opener in Atlanta.
“He’s fine,” Kapler said. “We don’t have any concerns after the off day.”
David Robertson will not be able to return to the Phillies this week as he originally hoped, but the reliever is confident he will return sometime in July. Robertson threw a bullpen session Sunday morning at Marlins Park and pitched off a mound for the first time since being placed on the injured list in April with an elbow injury.
“My velocity’s not there yet,” Robertson said after throwing 20 fastballs. “I’m going to have to build up a little bit. I’ve noticed that. I know I originally told you guys it could be around now, but I’m coming to grips that I’m going to have to build back up, going to have to get a little stronger because I don’t think I can go out there and compete anytime soon with what I’m featuring. Just not hard enough, not for this level.”
Robertson, who the Phillies signed this offseason to a two-year, $23 million contract, will throw another bullpen session on Wednesday in Atlanta. The Phillies welcomed back Tommy Hunter this weekend in Miami and Pat Neshek could return sometime near the end of July. The Phillies bullpen could receive some reinforcements for the second half.
“It's a good start for me,” Robertson said. “I'm excited that I got to be back on the mound and move forward. If I can keep on the right path I'll be joining these guys in the 'pen some point soon.”
Jay Bruce was out of Sunday’s lineup as his sore left elbow cost him his second straight start. Kapler said Bruce’s “soreness isn’t entirely resolved,” but the team expects him to be ready for the series opener on Tuesday in Atlanta. Bruce said his elbow does not bother him when batting, but it does in the field. He was used Sunday as a pinch-hitter.