Mar 31, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays catcher Erik Kratz (31) is congratulated by third base coach Luis Rivera (2) after hitting a two run home run against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 9-2. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Toronto Blue Jays are set to recall catcher Erik Kratz from Triple-A Buffalo, as is being reported by Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet. With the Blue Jays in Pittsburgh tonight and then moving on to Philadelphia next week, the addition of Kratz is thought to give the Blue Jays another hitter on the bench in advance of the pinch-hitting extravaganza that is a NL schedule.
Or is it?
It is an interesting move to say the least, especially in light of Thursday night’s game with the Royals. In the eighth inning of that game, after the Blue Jays had blown the game open, Josh Thole entered the game as a defensive replacement in the bottom half of the inning, spelling Dioner Navarro. However, nothing was noted after the game, or yet this morning, as to the status of Navarro or whether there was any injury concern whatsoever.
After being beaten out for the back-up catcher role by Thole in Spring Training, Kratz enjoyed a small 10 plate appearance sampling with the Blue Jays early in April, where he had just two hits, one which those was a pinch-hit home run, and drove in four runs. He’s spent the majority of this season with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons, where he owns a .273/.324/.485 slash-line with one home run and five RBI.
Navarro was off to a solid start offensively for the Blue Jays, sporting a .301 batting average with a .713 OPS, 1 home run and 14 RBI. Defensively, Navarro’s received accolades for his game-calling skills, but runners have stolen 18 bases on 22 attempts on his and he’s allowed 3 passed balls.
Chad Jenkins has been sent down to Triple-A Buffalo as the corresponding move for Kratz. Jenkins was back with Toronto for exactly one week, and his one appearance with the Blue Jays couldn’t have been much worse. Over an inning and two-thirds against the Red Sox last week, Jenkins allowed 5 hits (2 home runs) and 3 runs. He’ll return to Buffalo.