It seemed so obvious that Aaron Nola would get the start in the season opener that Joe Girardi forgot to tell him.

Everything has lined up this spring for Nola — who has started the last three openers — to pitch for the Phillies on April 1. He was the first starter to appear in a Grapefruit League game and Monday’s start in Tampa fell 10 days (or exactly two rotation turns) before opening day.

Girardi figured Nola would read the tea leaves, which is what the manager told reporters to do last week when asked who would start the opener against Atlanta at Citizens Bank Park.

“I make the assumption that it’s probably assumed and he knows,” Girardi said Monday afternoon. “Which is always a bad assumption, I know.”

He finally told Nola on Monday before the team traveled across the causeway to play the Yankees. The opener will be the first Phillies regular-season game with fans inside Citizens Bank Park since September 2019. The Braves are expected to oppose Nola with left-hander Max Fried.

» READ MORE: Phillies’ bullpen picture coming into focus as decisions loom

Nola will be the first Phillies pitcher to start four straight season openers since Steve Carlton, who started 14 of 15 from 1972-86. Since 1950, only two homegrown Phillies pitchers — Robin Roberts and Chris Short — have started four straight openers.

“When you have a guy like Aaron, it’s not like it’s on the top of your list — ‘I have to tell him’ or ‘I have to get it to him,’” Girardi said. “There’s a lot of other things that you’re trying to sort out and discussions with players. ... I saw him walking, he was by himself and I said, ‘Look, you’re starting Game 1. You probably knew that.’”

» READ MORE: Phillies 4, Yankees 0: Aaron Nola ‘dominant’ after learning he’ll start opening day

Eflin on track

Zach Eflin’s chances to be ready for the season remain strong as he will pitch in a game Wednesday for the first time since feeling back discomfort earlier this month. Girardi said he feels “pretty good” that Eflin will start the team’s third game of the season on April 4, a day after Zack Wheeler makes his season debut in Game 2 against Atlanta.

Eflin and Spencer Howard, who experienced back spasms last week, will likely pitch Wednesday in a simulated game so the Phillies can control the environment for both pitchers.

» READ MORE: The Phillies rotation appears set with one week left in spring training | Extra Innings

Extra bases

J.T. Realmuto was not in Monday’s lineup, but Girardi said the catcher had a “great day.” The Phillies are still optimistic that Realmuto will play later this week as a designated hitter in a Grapefruit League game. ... Vince Velasquez completed a 25-pitch bullpen session as he recovers from a muscle injury in his side. His status for the season remains uncertain. … Utilityman Brad Miller, also down with an oblique injury, is not yet ready to play in a game. He’s making progress, Girardi said, but Phillies are unsure if he’ll be able to avoid a season-opening stint on the injured list. “Rib cages are tricky,” Girardi said. ... Zack Wheeler will start Tuesday night in Clearwater against the Blue Jays.