Phillies' J.T. Realmuto baffled by ejection from spring game: 'It was a soft way to get thrown out'

Marcus Hayes, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Baseball

DUNEDIN, Fla. — J.T. Realmuto couldn't believe his ears.

Reliever Craig Kimbrel had just been called for a pitch-clock violation in the bottom of the fourth inning of a Grapefruit League game against the Blue Jays. Kimbrel asked for a new baseball. Realmuto, the Phillies' catcher, reached back for a replacement from home plate umpire Randy Rosenberg. Then Realmuto saw Kimbrel's eyes raise to the sky. He figured Rosenberg had thrown Kimbrel the new ball himself, so Realmuto retracted his glove.

Next thing he knew, Rosenberg was throwing him out. Miscommunication, Realmuto claims.

Rosenberg had been placing a ball in Realmuto's glove when it was retracted. The ball fell to the ground, and Rosenberg looked a bit foolish. So, he ejected Realmuto — the first time he has been tossed in his nearly 2,000 professional games. Everybody's cranky at the end of spring training.

As he reviewed the tape in the visitors' clubhouse at TD Ballpark, Realmuto was less angry than incredulous.

"How does he expect me to know he's giving me the ball right there?" Realmuto asked. "I'm not even looking at him."


Realmuto said Rosenberg contended that Realmuto was trying to show him up because Realmuto was upset about the pitch-clock violation.

"I said, 'Dude, I thought you were throwing the ball,'" Realmuto said. "He said, 'I'm not gonna buy that.'"

Rosenberg is a triple-A umpire and a major league "call-up umpire" eligible for spring training games and as a fill-in during the regular season, an "up-down" guy, said crew chief Dan Iassogna. He did not make Rosenberg available; it is common in controversial situations for only the crew chief to address such situations.

Did Iassogna, as Rosenberg's proxy, think Rosenberg acted hastily?


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