Erik Kratz returns to the Phillies on a minor league deal

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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.

Joe Kelly’s suspension reduced to 5 games on appeal

Joe Kelly suspended eight
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LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly had his suspension for throwing pitches near the heads of Houston hitters reduced to five games on appeal.

Kelly was originally penalized eight games by Major League Baseball on July 29, a day after throwing a 96 mph fastball near the head of Houston’s Alex Bregman and two curveballs that brushed back Carlos Correa.

The Dodgers on Wednesday confirmed the reduced penalty.

Kelly went on the 10-day injured list retroactive to last Sunday with right shoulder inflammation. He will serve his suspension when he returns.

After striking out Corea, Kelly curled his lip into a pouting expression and exchanged words with the shortstop.

Benches cleared after Kelly’s actions during the sixth inning of Los Angeles’ 5-2 win at Houston in the teams’ first meeting since it was revealed the Astros stole signs en route to a 2017 World Series title over the Dodgers.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts served his one-game suspension the same day the penalty was handed down. Astros manager Dusty Baker was fined an undisclosed amount.

Kelly denied that he purposely threw at the Astros. He has previously been suspended in his career for throwing at a batter.

The penalties were imposed by former pitcher Chris Young, MLB’s senior vice president of baseball operations, who issued his first ruling since taking over the job from Joe Torre.