Phillies fans will love J.T. Realmuto’s plan for returning to the field

The latest update from the Phillies backstop is encouraging.
St. Louis Cardinals v Philadelphia Phillies
St. Louis Cardinals v Philadelphia Phillies / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages
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The Philadelphia Phillies are still adapting to life without primary catcher J.T. Realmuto as he recovers from surgery to repair meniscus damage to his right knee. With an estimated four weeks of rest and rehabilitation the current course of action, it's going to be a little while before Phillies fans see Realmuto wearing a chest protector in game action.

As the Phillies await the return of the 11-year veteran, manager Rob Thomson is trying to make do with a platoon between light-hitting catcher Garrett Stubbs, and Rafael Marchán, who was recently recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

The tandem of Stubbs and Marchán have done their best to keep the Phillies pitching staff, at the dominant level we've all become accustomed to, but the fact remains that the Phillies are now 4-5 in the last nine games without Realmuto, and the performance of Stubbs and Marchán could best be categorized as a work-in-progress behind the plate.

Replacing a catcher with as many offensive and defensive skills as Realmuto was always going to be a tall order, but the mixed bag we have seen so far is going to have to get better for the Phillies to maintain a comfortable lead over the Atlanta Braves over the next few weeks.

Phillies fans will love J.T. Realmuto’s plan for returning to the field

There is good news to report regarding Realmuto's status post-surgery. The three-time All-Star recently spoke to MLB.com's Paul Casella about his recovery timeline, and when he expects to be back on the field and in good health.

"Best-case scenario, he gets some game action during the club's final five games of the first half and then gets some built-in rest during the break," wrote Casella. "Worst-case scenario, he's ready for the first game of the second half on July 19 -- five weeks and two days after surgery."

The initial recovery time frame of four weeks would optimistically find Realmuto available to suit up for the final five games leading up to the All-Star break. That would certainly be the best case scenario, but pushing too hard and getting too tied to a specific date could risk re-injury, so caution and hope seem to be motivating Realmuto as he works his way back to the Phillies lineup.

“For me, I'd rather be able to play those few games before the break,” Realmuto said , per Casella. “But if my body's not feeling right, I'm not going to push it."

Phillies fans will be hoping all goes smooth in Realmuto's rehab from knee surgery, and that he will return to the field healthy and ready to go in that four week time frame. While that plays out, Stubbs and Marchán will have all eyes on them as they try to keep the Phillies’ winning ways alive over the course of the next month.

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