NEW YORK - In the grand scheme of things, a backup catcher is not crucial to a team's success. The Phillies possessed two backup catchers during the season's first month, and one had to go Sunday when Carlos Ruiz returned from his suspension.
Humberto Quintero's locker was cleared early in the morning. The Phillies chose Erik Kratz as their backup and designated Quintero for assignment. They hope to retain Quintero in the organization, but that requires his passing through waivers unclaimed.
"It was a hard decision," Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said. "He did a fine job for us. He was very professional all the way through. I hope things work out for the best for both parties. He was good. He understood. We're sort of in limbo to figure out what's going to happen."
The Phillies have 10 days to trade or release Quintero or place him on waivers. If the 33-year-old veteran is not claimed by another team, he already has agreed to report to triple-A Lehigh Valley and serve as insurance for an injury. Ruiz has spent time on the disabled list in each of the last four seasons.
"There's a chance he could still be with us," Proefrock said, "and, selfishly, we hope he is."
That is because the current catching depth is unproven. If Quintero goes elsewhere, it makes Steven Lerud the third catcher in case of injury. Lerud is the backup at triple A to 21-year-old Tommy Joseph. The Phillies like Lerud, who was in contention for a roster spot until the end of spring training. Quintero, though, is a proven big-leaguer.
Quintero hit .250 with a .636 OPS in seven games. The Phillies opted for Kratz, who has spent more time with the pitching staff and provides a better power threat off the bench. Kratz could have been optioned to triple A without clearing waivers.
Centerfielder Ben Revere did not start for the fourth consecutive game. He had soreness in his right quadriceps, but the prolonged absence was more performance-based. As for when Revere will play again, Proefrock said, "That's Charlie's call." . . . The Phillies have beaten New York in nine of their last 10 meetings dating from 2012. . . . Freddy Galvis was 0 for 11 against lefthanded pitchers before his fifth-inning home run Sunday.