Kratz optioned to minors

Catcher Erik Kratz was optioned to the minor leagues. (Eric Gay/AP)

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Catcher Erik Kratz was optioned to minor-league camp Thursday, but expect Kratz to don a Phillies uniform sometime this season.

He's the third catcher on the depth chart, but the Phillies have typically needed at least three catchers every season. Kratz has two option years remaining and is a member of the 40-man roster.

Kratz, 31, had a decent spring. He hit .409 (9 for 22) with two home runs. The Telford native appeared in two games with the Phillies last September. In triple A, he batted .288 with an .838 OPS and 15 home runs.

In addition to Kratz's demotion, infielder Tim Kennelly was reassigned to the minors. That leaves 35 players in camp, 31 of them healthy.

There are jobs to be won still. Seven nonroster players remain in camp. They are: Raul Valdes, Tuffy Gosewisch, Hector Luna, Pete Orr, Juan Pierre, Scott Podsednik and Luis Montanez.

Orr could be the utility infielder if the Phillies don't find a better option from other camps. One of Pierre or Podsednik will make the team, and we should know who by noon Friday.

If Jose Contreras is to start the season on the disabled list, the Phillies could carry an extra bench player for the first five days of the season. Luna, Montanez and Orr each have one option year remaining.

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