Phillies place Schneider on DL. Again.

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Brian Schneider quietly returned from the disabled list on July 31, the day the Phils made a massive roster makeover, with Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino being shipped out west.

Brian Schneider went back on the DL Friday.

The veteran backup catcher, who was sidelined for a month with a right ankle sprain earlier this summer, has a left hamstring strain.

Steven Lerud was called up from Double-A Reading to act as the Phils backup catcher. With Carlos Ruiz already out (left foot) and not expected to begin running until next week, it will be the Lerud and Erik Kratz show for the foreseeable future.

Who is Lerud? 

He's a 27-year-old who has never played in the big leagues. Lerud, a third round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2003, has hit .221 in nine minor league seasons.

Lerud was hitting .235 in 35 games at Reading, where he has acted as the backup for the Phils two catching prospects; first, Sebastian Valle and then Tommy Joseph, who came over in the Pence trade.

"This was the right guy for us at this time," assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said when asked why Lerud and not either of the aforementioned prospects.

More relevant than who acts as the backup catcher until Ruiz returns from the DL is the increased opportunity Kratz will be getting as a result of another catching injury.

Friday night marked Kratz's 15th start in the Phillies last 20 games (since Ruiz landed on the DL). Kratz has hit .304 with a 1.038 OPS, four home runs, four doubles and 11 RBI in the first 14 of those games. 

The 32-year-old Kratz has already put himself in a strong position to be considered to replace Schneider, a free agent, as the Phils primary backup catcher next season. But the opportunity to play more - as reserve catchers have to be able to do in the event of injury - is another test for Kratz.

"It’s very important to know if he’s capable of going two weeks or even a month," manager Charlie Manuel said. "Maybe even two months. That’s very, very important."

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