Real­muto ex­pected to be ready for opener

Catcher re­cov­er­ing from lower back bruise, still ex­pe­ri­enc­ing sore­ness.

The Palm Beach Post - - SPORTS - By An­dre C. Fer­nan­dez Mi­ami Her­ald

JUPITER — 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 Tues­day. “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 spring at-bats, in­clud­ing a home run, 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 RBIs (65) last year and has 302 hits 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 or 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 RBIs 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 ma­jor­league games last sea­son with the Reds. The Marlins also have non-ros­ter in­vi­tee Bryan Ho­la­day in camp, and Mat­tingly men­tioned Austin Nola, who likely will start the sea­son at Triple-A. Ho­la­day has played 164 games in six sea­sons com­bined with the Tigers, Rangers and Red Sox.

Rid­dle find­ing his rhythm: 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.

“I think it’s more so fo­cus­ing on get­ting ready, kind of tak­ing it day by day,” Rid­dle said. “There’s no rush. The last thing I want to do is rush back and play two games and then be hurt again. I want to be 100 per­cent, full go on (March) 29th, not 80 per­cent and then cost the team if some­thing hap­pens div­ing in the hole when I can’t get back up and throw the ball.”

Rid­dle, 26, hit .250 with three home runs, 13 dou­bles and 31 RBIs in 228 at-bats (70 games) be­fore his rookie sea­son was cut short by the in­jury. If Rid­dle isn’t ready, the fa­vorite to start the sea­son at short­stop re­mains Miguel Ro­jas, who played the po­si­tion in 69 games for the Marlins last sea­son.

“It’s just rep­e­ti­tion back there,” Rid­dle said. “Not fac­ing a pitcher [in a game] since the end of July is a long time and not be­ing able to hit in the off­sea­son, I’m just try­ing to get as many at-bats as I can and try to get com­fort­able and get my rhythm and tim­ing back. It’s com­ing good and ev­ery­thing is feel­ing good so I just have to get the rep­e­ti­tions.”


The Marlins’ J.T. Real­muto has 5 hits in 22 spring at-bats, in­clud­ing a home run. He had 17 home runs and 65 RBIs last sea­son.

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