The Phillies lost their star catcher J.T. Realmuto on Monday due to a surprise ejection.
Even though baseball features a 162-game schedule, fans can say at least once every season that they see a "first." Before the regular season even begins later this week, that was the case for Philadelphia Phillies fans Monday in an event involving J.T. Realmuto. The star catcher was ejected from the Phillies' eventual 5-2 spring training win against the Toronto Blue Jays.
During the game, Phillies reliever Craig Kimbel was charged with a pitch clock violation and requested a new ball from home plate umpire Randy Rosenberg.
Rosenberg threw a ball, however, Kimbel did not like it and requested a second one. Realmuto reached his glove back to retrieve it, but since there was a slight delay, he took his glove away thinking Rosenberg was instead throwing the ball to the mound.
The ball ended up dropping to the dirt. Rosenberg assumed Realmuto was playing a trick on him, therefore ejecting him from the contest.
The situation overall was comical but unfortuante for the Phillies, who are getting in final work with Realmuto before the games start to matter on Thursday. Realmuto had minimal time with Phillies pitchers this spring, considering he was playing the World Baseball Classic on Team USA alongside fellow team standouts Trea Turner and Kyle Schwarber.
Realmuto is set to return to the Phillies lineup on Tuesday in a rematch against the team's 1993 World Series rival. The matchup will be the Phillies' final 2023 Grapefruit League game. Realmuto will bat third behind Turner and Schwarber — a sign of the lineup manager Rob Thomson possibly will use come Opening Day.
The awkward ball exchange following Kimbrel's pitch-clock violation went viral and made its rounds across national and international news channels. Hopefully, the next time the Phillies catcher reaches television sets overseas is for a much better reason.