With shortstop Jimmy Rollins on paternity leave, the Philadelphia Phillies have recalled catcher Erik Kratz from the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Kratz is a career minor league player who has made three consecutive All-Star teams at the highest level of the minors while struggling to make an impact in the major leagues.
Kratz was given a pinch-hitting appearance off of left-handed pitcher Tom Gorzelanny late in tonight’s loss to the Washington Nationals, and responded with a solo home run to center field. Kratz’s blast made the score 5-2 in favor of the Nationals, and although the Phillies would still go on to lose the game, it was nice to see the home run from a player who grew up in the local area.
Kratz is a 32-year old catcher and he’s likely to have very little impact on the Phillies this season with Carlos Ruiz doing so well as the starting backstopper and Brian Schneider a more than capable backup. Kratz has struggled immensely in limited major league plate appearances since 2010, going 4-for-34 two years ago with the Pittsburgh Pirates two seasons ago and 2-for-6 last year with the Phillies. His career batting average of just .159 suggests he may be better off as a Triple-A player, although he will likely see more and more action this season, especially with Laynce Nix, Jim Thome, and Michael Martinez all on the DL.
The best bet for Kratz is that he turns into the Phillies’ Chris Coste, a reserve catcher in 2008 that played a key role in the team’s championship run.