Phillies: David Robertson feels good, eyes midseason return

David Robertson #30 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
David Robertson #30 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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Robertson is a fan of Harper and Realmuto

Relief pitcher David Robertson #30 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

While Robertson has reconnected with Girardi, Thomson and Gregorius from his playing days in New York, he is also bullish on a few of his new teammates in Philadelphia — including outfielder Bryce Harper and catcher J.T. Realmuto.

"“[Harper is] an intense competitor. He hates to lose, and I love that about him. He plays hard. He’s hustling everything out, sliding in hard, swinging hard. Everything he does, he does fast-paced for a purpose.”"

Having only faced Harper a handful of times being entirely in the American League before 201, Robertson said he did not realize how intense a competitor he really is.

“He really wants to go out there and kick some butt on the field,” Robertson said. “I love that he’s on our team because I’m the same way. I love winning.”

“It helps to have a group of guys that really want to win, and he’s definitely one of those guys.”

For Phillies perennial All-Star-caliber catcher Realmuto, Robertson called him a “heck of a player” and said he has already had a lot of interaction with him, especially down in Clearwater.

“He’s everything they say,” Robertson said. “He can stick it behind the plate, he can swing it; he’s got an absolute cannon … he’ll take care of it if they try to take second on you.”

COVID Scare in Clearwater

When the news broke earlier this month about several Phillies players and staff members testing positive for COVID-19 in Clearwater, Florida,  Robertson said he was among four total players who were using the training facility at the time for rehabilitation.

The right-hander credits the facility for greatly progressing his rehab and return to the mound: “I was allowed to rehab in Clearwater at the Phillies complex,” Robertson said. “I was going in five to six days a week, seeing a physical therapist, following the protocols of the rehab process and throwing.”

“I was trying to hit every mark and keep going. I was able to lift.”

Robertson was shocked when he heard the news about positive COVID cases from the facility that resulted in its subsequent closure.

“We took so many precautions. We were doing everything that MLB suggested. Hand sanitizing, washing hands, everyone splitting up in all different ways so we weren’t near each other for extended periods,” Robertson said. “We did everything we were supposed to do, and people still got sick. … I was just shocked by how quickly it happened.”

“We didn’t think it was going to happen to us. We did everything we thought was the right way. … It shooked things up for me and everybody there.”

Robertson hopes no other team has to go through what the Phillies did moving forward, as it can be a detriment to the upcoming season. His biggest fear was him being someone who got the virus and be an asymptomatic carrier: “More people are going to get it; it’s going to happen. I just don’t want to be the person who is pushing it on other people.”

Now, Robertson remains determined to do his part to stop the virus’ spread.

“I just want to make sure I’m doing my part, wearing my mask, and keeping this social distancing thing going,” said Robertson, who is now back home at his Alabama family farm, throwing with his brother in Alabama.

“If that’s what it takes for me to play baseball, I’ll do whatever it takes,” he continued. “I’m still doing social distancing. I’m at the farm staying away from everyone. I just don’t want to risk getting sick. I can’t let it happen. I’m so close to getting back.”