Phillies Notes: Kratz on DL; Phils left with Quintero, Lerud at catcher

Phillies catcher Erik Kratz left the team to have an MRI exam on his injured left knee.
Phillies catcher Erik Kratz left the team to have an MRI exam on his injured left knee. (YONG KIM / Staff Photographer)
Posted: June 11, 2013

MILWAUKEE - Two Phillies catchers hopped planes in opposite directions Sunday morning, the latest development at a position ravaged by injury.

Erik Kratz was placed on the disabled list and flew to Philadelphia for an MRI exam on his left knee. Steven Lerud caught a 7 a.m. flight and arrived at Milwaukee's Miller Park to serve as Humberto Quintero's backup for the foreseeable future.

The Phillies are without their top catchers, Carlos Ruiz and Kratz, for at least the next week.

It is an undesirable situation. The extent of Kratz's injury will not be known until Monday, when he undergoes an examination. The initial prognosis was not favorable. Kratz was on crutches Saturday night after he felt a "pop" in his knee while he ran past first base in the ninth inning of a 4-3 loss.

Kratz, who ranks second on the team with eight homers, had flourished since Ruiz succumbed to a hamstring injury May 19. During that span, Kratz hit .267 with a .964 OPS. He hit six homers in 18 games. Saturday's 0 for 4 snapped a seven-game RBI streak.

There is no timetable for Ruiz's return. Ruiz said he suffered what was considered a minor setback and he was originally slotted to miss a month when he was put on the DL. He may start a minor-league rehab assignment at triple-A Lehigh Valley on Friday if he passes more tests in Minnesota during the week. The Phillies must scrape by with their third- and fourth-string catchers for some time.

Quintero homered Sunday for the Phillies' lone run in a 9-1 loss.

Lerud, 28, earned a brief major-league stint at the end of 2012. He was hitting .221 in 31 games for the IronPigs. The Phillies like his defensive capabilities. Because prospect Tommy Joseph missed the last month with a concussion and just recently returned to the field, he was not an option.

"Here I am," Lerud said.

The Phillies relayed news of his recall before midnight Sunday. An IronPigs intern drove Lerud from Allentown to Philadelphia at 4 a.m. so he could catch his flight. He arrived in the visiting clubhouse shortly after 10 a.m.

"Will you be ready to catch a bullpen in 10 minutes?" Cole Hamels quipped.

"Yeah," Lerud said, as he sipped a cup of coffee, likely one of many he'd have on Sunday. And thus began the Phillies' makeshift solution behind the plate.

Brown's pace

Domonic Brown went 0 for 3 on Sunday after a 6-for-14 stretch in his previous four games. His home run Saturday was his 17th in 39 games. The last Phillies player with as many as 17 homers in a 40-game stretch was Raul Ibanez in 2009, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Brown's 19 home runs lead the National League.

Extra bases

The Phillies have homered in 14 straight games and are 7-7 in those games. They belted one in 18 consecutive games from Sept. 3 to 22 in 2008. . . . Minnesota will toss three righthanded pitchers at the Phillies after a day off Monday. . . . The Phillies are 8-25 when they score three or fewer runs. . . . Outfielder Nick Ferdinand, the Phillies' 35th-round pick in Saturday's draft, is an Archbishop Ryan alumnus. He played four years at the University of Delaware.

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