PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Because the Phillies’ AAA team, the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, put together a great run in the postseason, the Phils held off on making the majority of their September callups until the Pigs’ playoff run was over.
But the wait was well worth it for Telford, Pa. native Erik Kratz, who on Friday got the call to serve as the Phillies’ third catcher for the remainder of the regular season.
So, have his feet hit the ground following the elation of coming to Philadelphia?
“Still trying to get down there,” he tells KYW Newsradio. “It’s a dream come true to get back to the big leagues. Hopefully I can be here to help the team — if not anything else, just learn from these guys and try to improve myself.”
Kratz, 31, made his Major League debut last season, getting 34 at-bats (4 hits) during a stint with the Pittsburgh Pirates in July.
Now, not only he is back in the bigs, but he also is getting a front-row seat to a team that has World Series aspirations.
“It’s amazing,” he says. “There are guys who spend their whole career playing that don’t have an opportunity to do that. I feel like I’m pretty close to the beginning of my career, middle of my career, whatever you want to say. Don’t have much time in the big leagues, but I’m getting the opportunity to see something like this. It’s exciting.”
Hear Matt Leon’s extended interview with Erik Kratz in this CBS Philly SportsPod…
Kratz hit .288 this season for the Iron Pigs, with 15 home runs, and he was an International League All-Star.
Why does he think he’s in Philadelphia now?
“Everyone is going to look at, ‘Oh, he went to the All-Star game,’ (or), ‘Oh, look at his hitting numbers, look how he hit.’ I feel like, down there at AAA, they saw what I brought to the table as far as catching, as far as working with the pitchers. That’s something I’ve done my whole career, something that I’ve done and I’ve enjoyed doing, and I feel like I do very well.”
Kratz and the Phillies wrap up their series with the Cardinals on Monday night at Citizens Bank Park.
Reported by Matt Leon, KYW Newsradio 1060