Real­muto re­turns as an All-Star and a fa­ther

Back from pa­ter­nity leave, catcher will be only Mar­lin at game

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - Sports - By Matthew DeFranks Staff writer

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

club con­trol.

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.

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