ALLENTOWN -- Phillies catcher Erik Kratz, who had surgery on June 12 for a torn meniscus in his left knee, went 0 for 3 on Monday in his first rehab appearance for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
Kratz started the second game of a defacto double header and played five innings in the IronPigs 5-2 win over the Pawtucket Red Sox at Coca-Cola Park. He grounded out all three times to third base. The first game, a 6-1 IronPigs win, was the completion of a suspended contest on April 10.
“I felt fine and was happy with the fact that my goal was to not think about it during the game,” Kratz said. “That means I don’t have any pain, any trepidation about it.”
IronPigs manager Dave Brundage said overall, it was an encouraging first game back for Kratz.
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“He had rust offensively but he hasn’t really faced live pitching in a month and that should be expected,” Brundage said. “But defensively he is so strong back there and really receives the ball well.”
Kratz didn’t disagree with Brundage about the offensive rust.
“I feel my bat speed is there, obviously getting my timing is going to be huge,” Kratz said.
Kratz added that there is no timetable for his return and that his entire rehab has been day-to-day.
“If I respond well, we will add something else and if it hurts we will stop and make sure we pass the hurdle,” he said. “Every day I haven’t had any pain or swelling so that is positive.”
On Monday the Phillies announced that Ryan Howard also has a torn meniscus and is expected to be out six to eight weeks following surgery. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. compared it to Kratz’s injury.
Kratz said it’s been a relief to know the injuries weren’t more severe.
“It’s huge because the pain I felt, I didn’t know how long I’d be out,” Kratz said.
Brundage said that if all goes well, he will likely have Kratz serve as a designated hitter in Tuesday’s game with Pawtucket.
The key will be how Kratz feels when he wakes up on Tuesday.
“In doing all the crouching or blocking I didn’t feel any irritation,” he said. “I did a lot of it tonight and we will see how it is tomorrow and if it’s fine, I will DH.”