And on the second day, there was a problem.
Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto, who signed a five-year deal worth $115.5 million last month, will miss at least the next two weeks after suffering a small fracture in his right thumb.
Manager Joe Girardi began today’s media session with the news, adding the team hopes its starting catcher will be available for Opening Day on April 1.
According to Girardi, Realmuto sustained the injury roughly six days ago during a bullpen session while sliding to block a ball in the dirt. Realmuto later revealed he was catching new reliever Jose Alvarado.
“It wasn’t that bad of a pitch, my thumb just got outside of my glove,” Realmuto said.
The injury was discovered Tuesday when Realmuto was asked to make throws and felt discomfort. That’s when the team decided to take a closer look and learned the extent of the injury.
Realmuto, who will be fitted for a hand cast on Friday morning, told reporters he was able to hit with the injury and was “shocked” to learn of the fracture. Still, he remains confident about a quick return:
J.T. Realmuto to @RobMaaddi: "I'm not very worried about my thumb, so if I was a Phillies fan, I wouldn't be too worried."
— Tim Kelly (@TimKellySports) February 18, 2021
In the interim, Realmuto plans to work out with the team and catch bullpens in preparation for the season, although he won’t throw or swing for the time being.
Doctors will reevaluate Realmuto in two weeks. That examination should provide more clarity on the timeline for a potential return.