Until further notice.
That was the gist of the message manager Mike Redmond delivered with regard to keeping rookie catcher J.T. Realmuto in the lineup for a second consecutive day Thursday, and possibly longer.
Realmuto went 2 for 3 in his season debut on Wednesday in Atlanta, prompting Redmond’s decision to leave slumping Jarrod Saltalamacchia on the bench for a second day in a row.
Saltalamacchia has just two hits in 22 at-bats and has struck out 11 times.
“There’s no doubt Salty’s been grinding,” Redmond said. “The idea is to give him a couple of days just to kind of regroup, and we’ll go from there.”
In addition to coming through with the bat, Realmuto also was praised by Redmond and pitcher Dan Haren for his work behind the plate.
“At the end of the day we’re about winning ballgames,” Redmond said. “Sometimes it takes a guy to come up and put him in the lineup and then go out there and contribute and kind of energize the ball club. J.T. did that yesterday, as did [Adeiny Hechavarria].”
Redmond said he spoke privately with Saltalamacchia to discuss the situation.
“I think it’s always a touchy situation anytime you have conversations with guys and you have to give them a break,” Redmond said. “But ... we’re trying to win ballgames, and if giving Salty a few extra days here or there helps him and helps us, then it will be worth it.”
Redmond also gave another reason for sticking with Realmuto, at least for now.
“With young guys, you want to be careful to not sit them on the bench for an extended period of time,” Redmond said. “So we’ll try to get him in there as much as we can.”
Catcher Jeff Mathis and infielder Don Kelly won’t require surgery to repair their broken fingers.
But it will likely be four to six weeks before either player is ready to play.
“It’s just a matter of time to let those breaks heal up,” Redmond said.
Meanwhile, Redmond said the plan is for pitcher Henderson Alvarez to begin playing catch early next week. Alvarez is on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation.
“He’s feeling better,” Redmond said, adding that the early indications on Alvarez’s recovery are “definitely encouraging.”
▪ After missing two games with tightness in his lower back, left fielder Christian Yelich returned to the lineup Thursday.
David Phelps missed the birth of his third child by about 40 minutes on Monday. But even though he was in Pittsburgh to be with his wife, Phelps didn’t miss his scheduled bullpen session on Tuesday and is set to make his first start of the season Friday at Citi Field.
Phelps said that in the mad dash to get to Pittsburgh for the delivery, he called around and arranged a throwing session with La Roche College.
“I reached out to them when I was still in Atlanta,” Phelps said. “I said, ‘Hey, my wife’s going into labor, can I get in and throw with you guys?’ So I went there about 11 o’clock [Tuesday], threw to their catcher, and left.”
▪ Friday: Marlins RHP Phelps (0-0, 36.00 ERA) at New York Mets RHP Bartolo Colon (2-0, 2.77), 7:10 p.m., Citi Field.
▪ Saturday: Marlins RHP Mat Latos (0-2, 17.36) at Mets RHP Jacob deGrom (1-1, 1.46), 7:10 p.m., Citi Field.