BOSTON – J.T. Realmuto got picked to play in the All-Star Game on Tuesday night in Colorado because of his reputation as much as the relatively modest numbers he has put up this season.
Now, it seems the Phillies catcher will start for the National League.
The San Francisco Giants placed Buster Posey on the 10-day injured list Friday with a bruised left thumb. Posey, voted by fans to be the NL’s starting catcher -- and the only other catcher on the roster besides Realmuto -- got hit by a foul tip last Sunday and hasn’t played since. Although Posey will be replaced, Realmuto is next in line to start.
Realmuto was selected in a vote by the players. Entering Friday night’s series opener here against the Boston Red Sox, he was batting .261 with eight homers and an .806 OPS, tied for fifth among NL catchers with at least 100 plate appearances. He was slowed earlier in the season by a sore wrist and spent two weeks on the injured list.
But this will mark Realmuto’s third All-Star Game in a row. He represented the Miami Marlins in 2018 and the Phillies in 2019. (There was no game last year because of the pandemic.) He didn’t start either previous All-Star Game.
“You have to enjoy the whole process because you’re never guaranteed another All-Star Game, and it’s so special and so fun for all the time that it lasts,” Realmuto said. “You just have to take it in the moment and enjoy it as much as you can.”
Neither pitcher Zack Wheeler nor manager Joe Girardi had been informed if Wheeler will be the NL’s All-Star starter. A Phillies pitcher hasn’t started the All-Star Game since Roy Halladay in 2011. There hasn’t been an all-Phillies starting battery since 1993, when Terry Mulholland pitched to Darren Daulton in Baltimore. It also happened in 1979 (Steve Carlton and Bob Boone).
Herrera sits again
Odúbel Herrera went 700 days without playing in a major-league game. Then, over the last 75 days, he got into 62 games, including 56 starts, mostly in center field. All of this is to say he could probably use a rest.
The Phillies gave Herrera two days off in the middle of a four-game series this week at Wrigley Field in Chicago, and he’ll have a four-day respite coming with the All-Star break. But he’s also dealing with a sore left ankle that was exacerbated on a play in the outfield Thursday night and was out of the lineup against the Red Sox.
“It’s going to be OK,” Herrera said, his ankle heavily taped, after doing some light running and playing catch in the outfield.
Girardi said the decision to keep Herrera out was based at least partially on wet conditions at Fenway Park after it rained for most of the day. By game time, though, the sun was out.
It helped, too, that fill-in center fielder Travis Jankowski has made the most of his limited playing time. In six starts entering Friday night, Jankowski was 6-for-17 (.353) with two doubles, one homer, four walks, and a .476 on-base percentage.
Girardi said the Phillies would evaluate Herrera again before deciding if he will play this weekend. With lefty Martín Pérez scheduled to start Saturday for the Red Sox, the lefty-swinging Herrera could get another day off before possibly playing Sunday against ex-Phillie Nick Pivetta, a right-hander.
Third baseman Alec Bohm went into the final series before the All-Star break with one home run -- against a position player, no less -- in his last 198 plate appearances. Brad Miller hit three homers Thursday night in Chicago.
Might the Phillies consider a third-base platoon after the All-Star break?
“I’m not to that point,” Girardi said. “We play Brad a lot, and he had a rough June. I don’t think you can play Brad too much. I think he’s such an important pinch-hitter for us. I think you try to give him starts here and there. But Bohm’s our third baseman.”
With the designated hitter this weekend in an American League ballpark, Bryce Harper took a turn in that spot Friday night. Girardi said he likely will use Realmuto as the DH in one of the next two games and possibly Miller in the other. ... Left-hander Matt Moore (0-1, 5.60 ERA) is scheduled to start Saturday for the Phillies.