The Phillies announced this evening that they signed veteran catcher Erik Kratz to a minor league contract. He’s slated to report to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Kratz previously played for the Phillies from 2011-2013 while batting .230 with 18 home runs and a .727 OPS over 120 games. The 35-year-old has received only sporadic playing time in the majors since, making stops with the Blue Jays and the Royals. He was recently given his release by the Mariners after appearing in 10 games with Triple-A Tacoma.
Carlos Ruiz and Cameron Rupp are sharing catching duties with the Phillies right now, but Kratz could get an opportunity with the big club at some point during the second half.
Dustin Pedroia has been activated from the disabled list and will bat second and play second base when the Red Sox begin the second half of the season tonight against the Angels.
Pedroia has been sidelined since June 24 with a left hamstring strain, but he didn’t end up needing a minor league rehab assignment. All-Star Brock Holt filled in at second base with Pedroia out of the lineup, but now he’ll return to a utility role. He’s not in the lineup for tonight’s game.
Injuries hindered Pedroia’s production in 2013 and 2014, but the 31-year-old was batting .306/.367/.452 with nine home runs and 33 RBI over 69 games prior to landing on the disabled list. The Red Sox begin the second half with a 42-47 record, 6 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the American League East. They are running out of time to make something out of their season, but having a healthy Pedroia back in the lineup helps their chances.
After No. 35 overall pick Kyle Funkhouser announced earlier today that he elected to return to Louisville for his senior season, the Dodgers were able to sign No. 24 overall pick Walker Buehler. According to Jim Callis of MLB.com, Buehler will receive a $1.78 million bonus, which is $314,400 under the estimated slot value. Now we know why the Dodgers were able to get him at a discount:
The 20-year-old Buehler got a late start on his Junior season at Vanderbilt due to elbow soreness, but he still finished with a 2.97 ERA and an 81/25 K/BB ratio in 78 2/3 innings as the team’s No. 2 starter behind Carson Fulmer. Still, concerns about his size (6-foot-2, 175 pounds) and durability ultimately saw him fall in last month’s draft. The Dodgers are surely happy to have Buehler in the fold after missing out on Funkhouser, but Tommy John surgery could keep him from making his pro debut until 2017.