In a solemn clubhouse following a loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on June 9, Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel voiced concern over the left knee of catcher Erik Kratz, who had been injured during the game. Speaking with Comcast SportsNet, the skipper clearly believed that Kratz would miss an extended period of time.
“His [left] knee popped. It didn’t look good. We’ll get it looked at [by a doctor]. He said when he was running he felt something pop. It was hurting him.”
The following day, an MRI revealed that Kratz's knee would require surgery to repair a medial meniscus tear, leaving the club, at the time, without both their starting and backup catchers, and it certainly did not look good for the latter.
Just under a month later, however, Kratz is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment for the Phillies. According to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki, the catcher will begin his assignment, which can last for a maximum of 20 days without a setback, with the club's Triple-A affiliate, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
Kratz's return will be a welcome addition for the Phillies. While he had been hitting just .229/.290/.436 with eight home runs before going on the disabled list, Kratz is well respected among the club's pitching staff and represents an upgrade over current backup backstop Humberto Quintero.
Getting Kratz healthy also provides a boost to the Phillies' depleted catching corps, giving them the flexibility to trade Carlos Ruiz at the deadline, should a suitable deal come to fruition.
On a different note, Zolecki also mentions that left-handed pitcher Jeremy Horst is set to continue his rehab assignment with the IronPigs. His return could provide depth in the Phillies' maligned bullpen.