CLEVELAND — J.T. Realmuto didn’t get a hit.
His team didn’t win.
But the Phillies catcher still had a memorable experience at the All-Star Game all because he had to scramble for an important piece of equipment.
Realmuto got two at-bats as the National League’s designated hitter Tuesday night. He went to the plate both times wearing a batting helmet borrowed from St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong.
“We had to improvise,” Realmuto said with a laugh after the American League's 4-3 win.
Realmuto arrived in the dugout moments before the first pitch and looked to stash his batting gloves in his helmet.
Only problem was his helmet wasn’t in the rack.
“I didn’t know what was going on so I asked,” he said. “They looked in all my bags and everything and they’re like, ‘I guess the equipment guy forgot to pack it in your bag.’ “
Realmuto’s catcher’s helmet did make it to Cleveland.
“I took the Cardinals sticker off DeJong’s helmet and put our P on it,” Realmuto said with a laugh.
He popped out in his first at-bat in the seventh inning.
The next inning he found himself in the on-deck circle with two outs. Only problem was DeJong was on base, wearing his helmet. So Realmuto wore Yasmani Grandal’s Milwaukee Brewers helmet into the on-deck circle. He did not bat in that inning because the American League got the third out with him in the on-deck circle.
That might have been a blessing because Grandal’s helmet “was huge,” and might have fallen off if Realmuto had to bat in that inning.
Realmuto ended up leading off the ninth in a one-run game. He had to face New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman throwing near-triple-digit gas. He struck out on three pitches, the last one 99 mph.
“That wasn’t fun,” Realmuto said. “I wish I would have done a little better and fouled a couple off.”
Realmuto has carried a heavy load for the Phillies this season so the plan was for him not to get any time behind the plate. He knew he was going to serve as the DH for the second half of the game.
He just didn’t know he was going to do it wearing a St. Louis Cardinals batting helmet.
Realmuto and the Phillies get back to work on Friday with a big series against Washington. The Phils are in third place in the NL East, a half-game behind the Nationals and 6 ½ behind first-place Atlanta.
“We’re ready for a big second half,” Realmuto said. “We have to play better. Stay healthy, get on a roll, get yourself to playoffs and a lot of things can happen.”
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