J.T. Realmuto elected player-manager for Marlins’ last game of 2018

J.T. Realmuto
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Russell Martin isn’t the only major league player who will assume control of the dugout when the regular season comes to an end on Sunday. According to Marlins skipper Don Mattingly, catcher J.T. Realmuto will take over managing duties for the day in what has become something of a tradition for the team.

Realmuto, 27, made his final appearance of the season on Saturday and will round out his fifth year in Miami with a .277/.340/.484 batting line and career-best 21 home runs and .825 OPS through 531 plate appearances. His .300+ batting average and double-digit home runs helped him to his first All-Star nomination during the first half of the year as well. There’s still some ambiguity surrounding Realmuto’s future within the organization, however, and the Marlins haven’t yet indicated whether they intend to extend or trade the catcher as they look to restructure their roster into something resembling a postseason contender.

After calling the game from the dugout during the Marlins’ final game against the Mets, Realmuto will join A.J. Ellis and Martin Prado as the team’s most recent one-time player-managers. Ellis took his turn in the skipper’s seat during the 2017 season finale and steered the club to an 8-5 loss against the Braves, while Prado did double-duty in 2016 after juggling a full lineup and third base duties against the Nationals, who eventually took the series with a 10-7 win.

Phillies select active duty Navy aviator in MLB Rule 5 draft

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SAN DIEGO — The Philadelphia Phillies took U.S. Navy aviator Noah Song in the Rule 5 draft Wednesday, hoping the former top pitching prospect can still be effective once he completes his military service.

There is no definitive date on when the 25-year-old Song might be able to join the Phillies.

Song was picked from the Boston Red Sox system in the draft for unprotected minor league players. Philadelphia put him on the military list while he continues his active duty and he won’t count on the 40-man roster, the pool from which major league teams can select players for the 26-man active roster.

Song impressed in his only pro season, making seven starts for Boston’s Class A Lowell affiliate in 2019, with a 1.06 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 17 innings. With a fastball clocked in the upper 90s mph, the right-hander dominated that year as a senior at the U.S. Naval Academy, going 11-1 with a 1.44 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 94 innings.

The Red Sox drafted Song in the fourth round – he likely would’ve gone much higher, but his impending military service caused teams to back off.

In November 2019, Defense Secretary Mark Esper signed a memo clearing the way for athletes at the nation’s military academies to delay their service commitments and play pro sports after graduation. Song’s request to have those new rules retroactively applied to his case was denied.

Song began school as a flight officer in the summer of 2020 and finished that phase last April. He started additional aviation training in May.

Song was among the 15 players, including three Boston pitchers, taken in the big league phase of the Rule 5 draft, which wasn’t held last year because of the MLB lockout.

Washington took righty Thad Ward from Boston’s Triple-A roster with the first pick. Baltimore took Red Sox minor league pitcher Andrew Politi with the ninth choice and the Phillies chose Song with the 11th selection.

Teams pay $100,000 to take players in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft. The players must stay on the big league roster next season or go on waivers and, if unclaimed, be offered back to their original organization for $50,000.