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By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Carlos Ruiz will not play in the Phillies first 25 regular season games, as he serves a suspension for his use of Adderall without a prescription.
Backup catcher Erik Kratz, who figures to fill-in for Ruiz during most of those games, knows that it’s more than just Ruiz the player that the Phillies will miss.
“Chooch is, I’ve told a lot of people—as much as fans love Chooch, if they knew how he was off the field, they’d love him even more,” Kratz told 94WIP’s Michael Barkann and Ike Reese on Wednesday. “He makes the team go, he makes everybody around him do well. For me to play in his place, whether it’s the first 25 games or it’s a breather after he comes back, I feel like there’s big shoes to fill and makes me feel like I need to do better. That’s what he brings to this team. He pushes everybody.”
Kratz’s bat was a nice surprise for the Phillies in 2012, with an OPS of .804 in 50 games, filling in admirably while Ruiz was out with injuries.
“[My goals is]Behind the plate, just continue to improve. Working with the pitchers, trying to get them deeper into games, starters,” Kratz said. “Trying to get the most out of relievers, getting to know some of the new guys. As far as at the plate, just trying to be consistent. I don’t think anybody ever over-achieves, they’re just at their peak, they’re at their potential when they’re doing their best. I think people under-achieve more than anything. I think if I can up my consistency a little at the plate, I think I can really help the team.”
“I feel like every year I should be the man. I think I feel like that’s how I go into spring training. I think it’s something that, guys come down here in different situations at different points in their career and I think it’s something that, for me, it’s an opportunity I hope to seize and hope to help the team when I’m in there for maybe more than that 25 games. Who knows, if I can help the team win, that’s what I’m trying to do.”
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