The Phillies will try to replace Rhys Hoskins at first base by moving J.T. Realmuto there as a way to keep the catcher in the lineup as much as possible for the final five weeks of the season.
Brad Miller started Friday night at first, but Realmuto is expected to receive the brunt of the playing time. Realmuto has been one of the team’s top hitters over the last two seasons, but his production has dipped this summer. He is hitting just .246 with a .759 OPS since the All-Star break.
“I think he probably feels like most baseball players do right now. They’re a little beat up. We recognize that,” manager Joe Girardi said. “Playing him at first should, if we’re able to do that, give him a little reprieve from being behind home plate and maybe keep his bat in the lineup more.”
Hoskins leads the majors in slugging percentage (.770) since the All-Star break and leads the Phillies this season in home runs and RBIs. Replacing that production is a tough task, and sliding Realmuto creates an opening behind the plate. Rafael Marchan, who was promoted Friday from triple A, is the only other active catcher on the roster after Andrew Knapp was placed on the COVID-19 injured list.
The Phillies entered Friday with the lowest batting average (.229) and sixth-lowest slugging percentage in the National League since the All-Star break. Four active Phillies -- Ronald Torreyes, Brad Miller, Didi Gregorius, and Travis Jankowski -- have an OPS lower than .700 since the All-Star break.
The team was built to hit its way to the postseason and now the Phillies will try to make an unlikely playoff push without one of their most productive hitters.
“Well, don’t give up runs, that’s how you get enough runs, don’t give up runs,” Girardi said. “We’re going to have to pitch and we’re going to have to have some guys have a good month, a good 5½ or six weeks, whatever we have left.”
“I like our pitching. I like what we run out there every day, I do. I know we have some people that are beat up that we were counting on. We have a guy out for the year that we were counting on. Hey, you have to deal with it. There’s no other way but to fight.”
The Phillies recalled Enyel De Los Santos to replace Eflin on the roster and outfielder Emilio Bonifacio to replace Luke Williams. Marchan replaced Andrew Knapp and J.T. Realmuto caught after Knapp was scheduled to. ...The Phillies can create a 40-man roster spot by moving Hoskins to the 60-day injured list. That could create an opportunity in September for Mike Adams, a 26-year-old from Egg Harbor Township who trained himself last year to throw 98 mph and signed a contract with the Phillies in January after playing last summer in a South Jersey men’s league. He has a 1.17 ERA this season in 17 relief appearances at triple A. ... Kyle Gibson will start Saturday night against Arizona right-hander Humberto Mejia.