J.T. Realmuto’s left knee was bruised and sore Wednesday, just as Phillies manager Joe Girardi guessed it would be. But the star catcher’s prognosis hadn’t worsened from when a foul ball struck him in the seventh inning Tuesday night.
Realmuto, as expected, will avoid the injured list.
Exhale, Phillies fans.
“He’s OK,” Girardi said before the Phillies continued their three-game series in Washington with Andrew Knapp, not Realmuto, behind the plate. “He came in for treatment. He tried to get it going. He went out, did some things. We just thought it was best that we give him today off. He’s day to day.”
With the Phillies leading by one run and the bases loaded, reliever José Alvarado unleashed a 101-mph sinker that the Nationals’ Josh Bell fouled off. Realmuto got hit on the inside of his knee just above the padding of his shin guard. He finished the inning (Bell struck out on the next pitch), then left the game. Knapp delivered a two-run single in the eighth inning to widen the margin in a 6-2 victory.
Girardi said he hoped to be able to use Realmuto off the bench to hit or even catch in the late innings Wednesday night. Realmuto has been the Phillies’ best all-around player, batting .314 with four home runs and a .938 OPS. He’s 7-for-16 with two doubles and a home run on the road trip. He was also tied with Nationals shortstop Trea Turner and Giants catcher Buster Posey for the third-most WAR (1.7, via Fangraphs) among National League position players, trailing Braves right fielder Ronald Acuña Jr. (2.2) and Cubs third baseman/outfielder Kris Bryant (1.9).
Knapp entered Wednesday night batting .176 in 34 at-bats. But as Girardi noted, he has seven RBIs, including a solo homer in a 2-1 victory April 4 against the Braves, a walk-off single April 21 in a 6-5 win over the Giants, and the two-run hit Tuesday night.
“He’s had some big hits for us when you think about it,” Girardi said. “His average may not be as high as he wants, but he’s driven in seven runs in limited time, and those have been important runs.”
Like the rest of the Phillies, Knapp was relieved that Realmuto’s injury wasn’t more serious.
“It just got him in a weird spot in between the pads,” Knapp said. “I’ve actually had that before. You can’t really do much about it. You just try to work on the swelling and get some fluids in you. But he’s doing good.”
Surgery for JoJo?
The Phillies haven’t offered a medical update on lefty reliever JoJo Romero, who was scheduled to undergo further testing after being placed on the injured list last week with a sprained left elbow. A sprain implies an injury to a ligament.
“He did his test, and we’ll see what happens,” Girardi said. “Basically they have not made a decision [about] what they’re going to do.”
Asked if surgery is an option for Romero, or if he would be getting a second opinion, Girardi said, “I don’t have anything for you yet.”
Romero has allowed seven earned runs on 12 hits and four walks in nine innings over 11 appearances.
Outfielder Roman Quinn (lacerated right index finger) went through pregame on-field activities, including batting practice, and could be ready to play over the weekend. He’s eligible to come off the injured list Saturday. Fellow outfielder Matt Joyce (right calf strain) is working out at the team’s facility in Clearwater, Fla. ... With a victory Wednesday night or Thursday, the Phillies would win their first series of at least three games on the road since Sept. 17-19, 2019, at Atlanta. ... In case you were wondering, Girardi said the Phillies’ emergency catcher would be Scott Kingery, who has played every position except catcher and first base over the last three seasons. ... Zach Eflin will start Thursday’s matinee series finale in Washington against Nationals lefty Patrick Corbin.