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Realmuto reflects on choosing baseball over football

Realmuto reflects on choosing baseball over football

CHICAGO -- Football or baseball?

When J.T. Realmuto was a high school senior in Midwest City, Okla., he weighed his options.

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In football, he was a standout quarterback on a state championship team. He also was a shortstop in baseball.

The Marlins selected Realmuto in the third round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft and converted him to catcher. He's now showing promise in the big leagues, making the leap from Double-A Jacksonville after Jarrod Saltalamacchia was placed on the seven-day concussion list.

Saltalamacchia is expected to be transferred to the 15-day DL.

Realmuto, 23, on Sunday made his second big league start. Jeff Mathis has been getting a majority of the playing time since Saltalamacchia went down.

At Carl Albert High School, Realmuto decided to give his full attention to baseball after the football season.

"I had some opportunities to play college football," he said. "I decided right after football season my senior year that I was going to focus on baseball. I figured I had a better chance in baseball."

Had he opted for college, the catcher would have had chances to play football and baseball. He had football opportunities at the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Texas A&M and Stanford.

Oklahoma State is where he has his most passion, but fulfilling the baseball dream is the direction he took.

"I thought about it for a while," he said. "Then I decided just to play baseball."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter Less