Phillies adding third catcher for London Series raises concerns about J.T. Realmuto

Rafael Marchán will be on the active roster for the weekend, but hopefully Realmuto is good to go.
Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto
Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Phillies are getting ready to face the NL East rival New York Mets in the MLB London Series this weekend. The teams are allowed an extra player on the roster, a 27th man, just like for doubleheaders.

The Phillies have chosen their 27th man for the weekend. According to's Todd Zolecki, manager Rob Thomson informed the media on Friday that catcher Rafael Marchán will be added to the active roster in London.

Phillies adding third catcher for London Series raises concerns about J.T. Realmuto

Teams usually like to add a pitcher as the 27th man for doubleheaders, but with this not being a doubleheader and with how J.T. Realmuto's last few games have gone, the Phillies decided to play it safe and carry a third backstop against the Mets.

Per Zolecki, the team just wants "some insurance." It sounds innocent enough and makes sense, but you can't help but wonder how Realmuto is feeling. He got Wednesday's series finale against the Milwaukee Brewers off after arriving at Citizens Bank Park a little banged up.

The indispensable backstop had a rough series against the Brewers, with a couple of plays standing out as a reason why the Phillies might want to cover their bases in London. Tuesday's game was a rough one for the 33-year-old.

In addition to being hit by a pitch, he took a couple of nasty blows behind the plate in the Phillies' 2-1 extra-innings win.

In the ninth inning, he took a foul ball directly to an area that everyone can sympathize with. The tough-as-nails catcher was distressed and visibly shaken but remained in the game. Realmuto also took a shot to the head in a game-saving play at the plate in the 10th.

Rafael Marchán only just recently came off IL

Marchán recently came off the injured list after suffering back problems through the winter and spring training. He started out hot in Triple-A but has cooled down some since. The 25-year-old is slashing .219 /.350/.344 with a home run and five RBI in nine games with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

Marchán last appeared in the majors in 2021, playing in 20 games hitting .232 with a .632 OPS in 52 at-bats. Since signing out of Venezuela in 2015, his development has been slowed in recent years by a list of injuries including a hamstring strain and a hamate bone fracture in his wrist before his more recent back problems.

Hopefully, this really is a nothing burger and the All-Star catcher Realmuto starts Saturday's game. With an earlier start time on Sunday, backup Garrett Stubbs might already be lined up for that one anyway. At least the Phillies have some insurance either way while overseas.