The Philadelphia Phillies have optioned catcher Erik Kratz down to Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Friday night. Kratz had been called up a few weeks ago when veteran first baseman Jim Thome went on the 15-day disabled list with a back injury.
Kratz was called up to give the Phillies a right-handed power bat off the bench, even though he doesn’t play the same position as Thome. Kratz is a career .140/.178/.163 hitter in 43 plate appearances, although he has performed admirably at the Triple-A level. Kratz has made three consecutive IronPigs All-Star games, and he is a renowned handler of the pitching staff in addition to being a productive cleanup hitter.
Kratz was 0-for-3 for the Phillies this season with two strikeouts. Last year, he went 2-for-6 in limited plate appearances after a September call-up, and he was 4-for-34 for the Pittsburgh Pirates the season before. Kratz is 31 years old, so his time to make it in the major leagues may be running out, but then again, Chris Coste was a 33-year old rookie when he debuted on the scene several years ago.
It is still unknown as to who the Phillies have sent down with Kratz coming up. Laynce Nix has recently been placed on the DL with an aggravated calf injury. Personally, I think it may be time for the Phillies to call up young outfielder Domonic Brown and see if he has what it takes to play productively in the major leagues.