Sunday, December 28, 2014

Humberto Quintero catches on eve of Carlos Ruiz's return

The team must make a roster move Sunday to accommodate Carlos Ruiz's return from his 25-game suspension. Humberto Quintero starts Saturday and it could be his final appearance as a Phillie.

Humberto Quintero catches on eve of Carlos Ruiz's return

Humberto Quintero has a reputation in baseball circles as an above-average defender. It is what has kept him on major-league rosters. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Humberto Quintero has a reputation in baseball circles as an above-average defender. It is what has kept him on major-league rosters. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

NEW YORK — It's a day game after a night game, so the lone change in Charlie Manuel's lineup Saturday is at catcher. Humberto Quintero replaces Erik Kratz and it is reasonable to wonder if this is Quintero's final appearance in a Phillies uniform.

The team must make a roster move Sunday to accommodate Carlos Ruiz's return from his 25-game suspension. Ruiz is on the restricted list and the Phillies' 40-man roster is full. So a player must be removed from both the 25- and 40-man roster.

That would make Quintero the most likely candidate. The 33-year-old veteran has performed well in six games with a .313/.353/.438 line. Maybe that makes the Phillies think twice about their roster move.

Erik Kratz has an option remaining and can be sent to the minors without passing through waivers. The Phillies could make that move to keep all three catchers in the organization as insurance for a future injury. Or they could designate Quintero for assignment, hope he clears waivers, and stash him at triple A if he is willing to go.

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Kratz is hitting .191/.222/.309 in 21 games this season. The 32-year-old has petered after a hot start in 2012 that made him one of the feel-good stories during a .500 season. But Kratz offers a better power threat than Quintero and has more familiarity with the pitching staff.

If the Phillies keep Kratz and lose Quintero through waivers, Steven Lerud becomes the third catcher. The 28-year-old enjoyed a cup of coffee last September and is currently the backup at triple-A Lehigh Valley behind 21-year-old prospect Tommy Joseph.

That lack of depth could influence the Kratz-Quintero decision.

The full Saturday lineup:

1. Jimmy Rollins 6
2. Chase Utley 4
3. Michael Young 5
4. Ryan Howard 3
5. Domonic Brown 7
6. John Mayberry Jr. 8
7. Laynce Nix 9
8. Humberto Quintero 2
9. Jonathan Pettibone 1


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Matt Gelb Inquirer Staff Writer
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