Realmuto returns as an All-Star and a father
Back from paternity leave, catcher will be only Marlin at game
MIAMI — J.T. Realmuto’s life changed this week — in more than one way.
On Sunday, for the first time in his fiveyear career, Realmuto was named a National League All-Star, the lone Marlins representative for next week’s game in Washington.
Two days later, Realmuto’s wife Lexi gave birth to the couple’s first child: Gracie Laine, their daughter born at 7:42 a.m. on Tuesday.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Realmuto, who returned to the team Friday afternoon after spending three games on the paternity list. “The experience that I went through, I really can’t put it into words. It’s something I’ll definitely cherish for the rest of my life.”
Realmuto said he spent three days in the hospital with his wife, and watched all three games he missed during Miami’s series against the Brewers. Backup catcher Bryan Holaday filled in for Realmuto, reaching six times in three games and stroking the walkoff single on Monday night.
After Monday night’s game-winner, Holaday told reporters maybe the win sent Lexi into labor.
“When he said that comment, she was still in labor,” Realmuto said. “She was still trying to push. So I was like ‘Babe, Holaday said he got that walk-off hit so you can push a little harder here.’ Ended up taking a few more hours after that. I give him a little credit. He might have helped out a little bit.”
Realmuto has been the Marlins’ best player this season, entering Friday night with a .317/.368/.551 slash line while also contributing as one of baseball’s best defensive catchers. He’s helped guide a young pitching staff and become one the best values in the majors with two more seasons of
And outside of a disabled list stint at the beginning of the year, Realmuto hasn’t often missed games.
“It’s definitely different,” Realmuto said. “Being healthy and watching them on TV is a different feeling. I watched them, obviously, a lot when I was on the DL. Being able to play and not being there to help the guys out was a little different. Definitely would do the same thing over and over again with the birth of my child.”
Realmuto received well wishes from current and former teammates, but also got an unexpected congratulatory message from an unlikely source: the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers, led by former Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich, signed a card for Realmuto, complete with a subtle reminder that he would miss the entire series against Milwaukee.
“The whole Brewers team signed a card,” Realmuto said. “They said ‘Make sure you take your full three days.’ They underlined ‘three’ like four different times. It’s was pretty cool. They all signed it for me.”
Yelich and Realmuto are close friends that were both drafted in 2010, played in the minors together and even lived together before Realmuto got married.
On Sunday, Marlins catcher J.T Realmuto, right, was named to the All-Star team. On Tuesday, his wife, Lexi, gave birth to their first child, Gracie Laine.
J.T. Realmuto has been the Marlins’ best player this year, with a .317/.368/.551 slash line entering Friday’s game.