ATLANTA The Phillies have placed pinch hitterfirst baseman Jim Thome on the disabled list and recalled catcher Erik Kratz from Triple A Lehigh Valley.
The move gives the Phils three catchers, but more importantly a full bench for Wednesday nights game against the Atlanta Braves. The Phillies had played short on the bench for three games after Thome strained his lower back on Saturday night.
Thome had hoped to avoid a trip to the DL, but his back strain, though improving, has not cleared up quickly enough. He was not available for Tuesday nights game, a 4-2 win in Atlanta.
It has been a difficult start to the season for the 41-year-old Thome. He is 2 for 18 with 10 strikeouts.
Going on the DL will allow Thome to get some at-bats in the minor leagues once he is healthy. That could be beneficial to his timing at the plate. Manager Charlie Manuel hinted to that possibility before Tuesday nights game.
The longer he sits there -- sometimes I think he needs to go hit, Manuel said.
Kratz, 31, appeared in two games for the Phillies last season. He hit .294 (15 for 51) with three homers and nine RBIs in 14 games at Triple A.
Kratz was a logical candidate for a temporary promotion because he is on the 40-man roster, which reached its limit when the Phils added reliever Brian Sanches on Tuesday.
Domonic Brown is also on the 40-man roster, but the Phils are committed to giving him more development time at Triple A. Brown was hitting .253 with no homers and 11 RBIs in his first 23 games at Lehigh Valley. He had an on-base percentage of just .298 and a slugging percentage of just .345.
The Phils could have cleared a spot for Scott Podsednik or Hector Luna by placing one of their injured players on the 60-day disabled list. Podsednik was hitting just .185 in his first 16 games at Triple A and Luna was hitting .235 with a homer and five RBIs in 22 games.
In the end, Kratz gets the call.