Will Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto be ready for Opening Day?
Miami Herald | 2 months ago

The Marlins will hold out catcher J.T. Realmuto for the next few spring games, but the team is confident he will be ready to return before Opening Day.

Realmuto suffered a lower back bruise on Sunday when he collided with New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres while running back to the bag on a pickoff attempt.

"He's still sore so we'll just make sure to get that out of there and he'll get back to activity," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "I don't think it's anything serious. They've ruled all that out. We just want to make sure he's not compensating in any way and jeopardize hurting something else."

Realmuto, who has 5 hits in 22 at-bats - including a home run this spring, also suffered a left knee bruise that forced him to miss two games prior to Sunday's game.

Realmuto, one of the most athletic catchers in baseball, put up career numbers in home runs (17) and RBI (65) and has 302 over the past two seasons, including 62 doubles and five triples.

Assuming Realmuto's back soreness doesn't cause him to miss an extended amount of time, Mattingly said he was confident he would get his timing down at the plate to be ready for the season.

"I don't worry about J.T. from the standpoint of him being ready to go," Mattingly said. "It's more if this thing would linger a week of 10 days then it would be different, but I don't think that's the case."

The Marlins' other potential options at catcher should the need arise include Tomas Telis, who hit .240 with three triples and nine RBI in 104 at-bats last season.

"Telis is a guy that continues to improve behind the plate in terms of his blocking, his throwing and receiving," Mattingly said. "He's down the road a little bit as far as our system and what we're trying to get our catchers to do."

There's also Chad Wallach, who played his first six major-league games last season with the Reds. The Marlins also have non-roster invitee Bryan Holaday in camp, and Mattingly mentioned Austin Nola, who will likely start the season at Triple-A. Holaday has played 164 games in six seasons combined with the Tigers, Rangers and Red Sox.

Shortstop JT Riddle said he is hoping to start playing in minor-league games by Saturday as he continues to rehab from a shoulder surgery he underwent last August.

Riddle has faced live pitching on the back fields in Jupiter and in games so far, but has yet to play on defense to test the shoulder.

It's uncertain whether Riddle, who has not played in a major league game since July 19, will be ready for Opening Day on March 29 when the Marlins open the regular season at home against the Chicago Cubs.

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