Will the Philadelphia Phillies Have a Catching Battle to Start the Season?

By Ben Bernstein
Philadelphia Phillies Tommy Joseph
H. Darr Beiser – USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Phillies have a situation at the catching position to start 2013. While all-star catcher Carlos Ruiz has been practicing and playing with the Philadelphia this spring, his 25 game suspension for Adderall use will begin with the regular season. It seemed that Eric Kratz would take over the starting spot while Ruiz is suspended, but is it possible that there is another contender for the spot?

Tommy Joseph is a new name to many Phillies fans. Joseph was acquired in July during the deal that sent Hunter Pence to San Fransisco Giants. He was believed to be a decent prospect but was not getting playing time with the Giants while sitting behind Buster Posey. 

Joseph impressed many on Wednesday in a 6-3 win over the Washington Nationals. He went 3-4 with a double on Wednesday and caught for Roy Halladay who threw four scoreless innings. So far this spring, he has played in 6 games with 13 at bats, a .462 average, a home run and 2 RBIs.

Kratz became a fan favorite toward the end of the last season when he replaced Ruiz during his injury. Kratz was known for clutch hits and impressive defensive play. It was almost assumed that he would start for the suspended Ruiz, but it may be possible that Joseph can challenge him come opening day.

Ruiz has been one of the most important players for the Phillies in the past few years, so whoever replaces him has huge shoes to fill. It seems that both of these players are playing well enough to contend for the spot, so the rest of the spring will determine if there will be legitimate competition for Kratz on opening day.

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