J.T. Working Out; Anderson Introduced (www.mlb.com)

Phillies catcher

may have a broken right thumb, but it hasn’t stopped him from working out. According to manager Joe Girardi, Realmuto was able to catch reliever Brandon Kintzler during a bullpen session on Saturday. Realmuto caught the ball and flipped it to the ball boy, who then threw it back to Kintzler. Realmuto was also able to hit with his left hand and handle popups while backing up the bases.

Realmuto fractured the base of his thumb last week when he tried to block a ball in the dirt at Carpenter Complex in Clearwater, Fla. The Phillies are hoping Realmuto will be ready by Opening Day on April 1, against the Braves at Citizens Bank Park.

“There is a lot of things we can do [with J.T]. So when he is ready to go, he is not building from scratch,” Girardi said.

Anderson, 33, went 53-40 with a 3.94 ERA in 166 appearances (160 starts) from 2014-19 with the D-backs and Brewers. Last year, Anderson went 1-2 with a 7.22 ERA in 10 appearances (seven starts) with the Blue Jays. His fastball velocity dropped from 93.3 mph in ’19 to 92.4 mph in ’20, but he still had the best strikeout rate (27.4) and second-best walk rate (6.5 percent) of his career. Anderson, who is successful when he throws on the inside part of the plate, is known to throw a sinker, changeup and curveball.

“When you look at Chase, you know he has the stuff. So it comes down to being more consistent with your location all the time. That’s the bottom line. You are making sure you are ahead in the count all the time,” Girardi said. “He is a true professional and he has done this for a while and has competed on a high level for a while. I’m not asking him to remake himself because I don’t think he has to do that. Just small improvements in your craft every day. It’s not just about making a pitch. It’s holding runners. It’s limiting damage when you get in trouble. All those things you can do. Just make small improvements.”

Anderson said the No. 1 reason he signed with the Phillies was to throw to Realmuto, the person he called the best catcher in the Major Leagues. In fact, Realmuto called Anderson after learning the Phillies had interest in his services.

“… I think it’s watching [Realmuto and seeing] how flexible and mobile he is behind the plate, how subtle he is with the way he frames the pitch,” Anderson said. “I [was able] to talk to him for an hour before I signed here, just hearing how he goes about [his business]. He was not giving me a big sales pitch. You look at the numbers on both sides of the ball – offensively and defensively — he is the best catcher in the Major Leagues.”

Worth noting
Girardi will have his first meeting of the season with his position players via Zoom on Sunday night. The skipper already spoke to his pitchers and catchers. Everybody talks about how the Phillies need to improve the bullpen, which was one of the worst in the National League last year, but Girardi would like to see the team improve on every aspect of the game.

“The starting rotation gets better, we score more runs, our defense gets better, all of those things. Obviously, we fell short last year,” he said. “We have to improve in a lot of areas. If you can make small steps in all of those areas and we can make a big step in our bullpen, I really like our club. I’m never going to be satisfied. I’m always thinking we could get better.”

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