The Phillies, down to their final 19 games of the season and desperately trying to stay in the National League playoff picture, were without one of their most important players for the start of a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night.
J.T. Realmuto, bothered for weeks by a sore right shoulder, was out of the starting lineup after requiring an injection of anti-inflammatory medication after Sunday’s game.
“Same thing,” manager Joe Girardi said. “As you know, he's had this shoulder issue. He caught Saturday and Sunday. It seems like every time it's turning the corner and he's getting better, he'll do something, whether it's a swing and a miss or he'll dive for a ground ball, that sort of thing. So he had an injection to take care of the inflammation and we expect him to play (Wednesday night).”
Ironically, Realmuto had three hits in Sunday’s game, a 5-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies.
The Phillies entered Tuesday night’s game 4 ½ games behind first-place Atlanta in the NL East race and 2 ½ back in the wild-card race, but with three teams ahead of them in that one.
“You hate not having him,” Girardi said of Realmuto. “But you can't play him every day. He's been playing a lot. He had a good day on Sunday. He's been able to get through it. It's not exactly what you want at this time of year, but we felt that the rewards would be better than if we didn't do it.”
Despite the lingering issue, Realmuto has not had an MRI on the shoulder, according to Girardi. Girardi also said he does not expect that Realmuto’s condition will require an off-season medical procedure.
Girardi was asked what the team was calling the condition.
“Just inflammation of the right shoulder,” he said. “He's had it before. We've talked about it. He seems to get it every year for a little bit of time and is able to get rid of it. I actually notice it more when he is swinging than anything else.
“Our doctors have told us everything is good. There's things that players go through. He's seen three of our doctors. They've all determined the same thing. We feel good that our doctors say it's OK and that he can continue the next 18 to 20 days. We're thinking the shot should work.”
Andrew Knapp started at catcher in place of Realmuto.
Here is the Phillies’ starting lineup against Cubs right-hander Adrian Sampson.
Odubel Herrera CF
Jean Segura 2B
Bryce Harper RF
Andrew McCutchen LF
Brad Miller 1B
Didi Gregorius SS
Ronald Torreyes 3B
Andrew Knapp C