Phillies Notes: No longer a Phillie, Kratz cruised with them anyway

Former Phillies catcher Erik Kratz. (Kathy Willens/AP file photo)
Former Phillies catcher Erik Kratz. (Kathy Willens/AP file photo)
Posted: March 06, 2014

CLEARWATER, Fla. - Three days after Erik Kratz was traded from his hometown Phillies to the Toronto Blue Jays, the team that originally drafted him, he wondered about his vacation plans.

"Wait a minute," Kratz recalled. "I said yes to the cruise thing."

The Phillies asked Kratz last summer to attend their annual fan trip with Domonic Brown and former players Tommy Greene and Greg Luzinski. But he was dealt to Toronto on Dec. 3 for reliever Brad Lincoln, a transaction that surprised Kratz.

The trip to Mexico was scheduled for Jan. 4-11. And he still wanted to mingle with Phillies fans for a week.

"It's something I said I was going to do, and if they still wanted me to do it, I was definitely going to do it," Kratz said. "I wanted to fulfill my obligation. And, I mean, who doesn't want to go to Cancun in January? But if you sign up for something, you do it. There were no hard feelings."

Kratz, 33, a Telford native who went to Christopher Dock High School, became a fan favorite because of his perseverance, long home runs, and sponsorship of turkey bacon during TV commercials on Phillies broadcasts. He viewed the vacation as a chance to show his appreciation.

"Phillies fans were great," Kratz said. "No one asked, 'Why did you come?' They were like, 'We're so glad you came.' It made me feel good about coming because I appreciated my time in Philly. If that's one way I could show it, then I did."

Kratz will compete this spring for the Blue Jays' backup catching job. His primary task is to learn the intricacies of R.A. Dickey's knuckleball. Toronto selected Kratz in the 29th round of the 2002 draft.

"I've come full circle," he said.

Another loss

The Phillies dropped to 1-6 in Grapefruit League play with a 5-3 loss to Toronto on Tuesday night. They are hitting .194 through seven games.

"You like to win games," manager Ryne Sandberg said. "It seems like some of these games it has been a one-inning type of thing, a crooked number in one inning. Our offense hasn't come alive to overcome a crooked number by the other team."

Extra bases

Jimmy Rollins (flu symptoms) was scratched shortly before Tuesday's first pitch. He participated in infield drills and batting practice. Freddy Galvis, who twisted his right ankle Monday, replaced Rollins at shortstop. . . . Seth Rosin, a 25-year-old righthander lost to Los Angeles in the Rule 5 draft, has pitched five scoreless innings with eight strikeouts and zero walks this spring for the Dodgers. If he does not make Los Angeles' 25-man roster, he can return to the Phillies. . . . The Phillies and Braves will honor the late Jim Fregosi before Wednesday's game at Bright House Field. Members of his family, former teammates, and players he managed will be in attendance.

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