Carlos Ruiz and his backup, Brian Schneider, have taken turns on the disabled list. With news that Schneider could reportedly miss close to a month with a left hamstring strain, should the Phillies seek outside help?
You might be surprised to know the Phillies are in no danger of having the least productive catchers in baseball. That dubious distinction goes to the Twins, who've been dealing with numerous inflictions to Joe Mauer. Combined, their backups are averaging an unfathomable .366 OPS. Meanwhile, the Phils are sixth from the MLB basement with a .585, which is still atrocious by today's atrocious standards for catchers; .239/.312/.384 is the average catcher's slash line across baseball. But knowing how the Phillies are bruised and battered behind the plate, it might be a good time to buy low on an insurance policy for Ruiz, who got his first hit since Apr. 17 on Sunday.
Ruiz's back is undoubtedly a source of some nervous tension for the Phils. Schneider has started in 13 games already and was hitting just .176, numbers that may not climb much higher. Dane Sardinha has already started five games and is 3-for-15 (.200), production that could actually get worse.
Looking around the league, it's tough to get a handle on who might be available since teams feel they're still in contention. A team like Washington, for example, would love to get Pudge Rodriguez and his remaining contract out of the way, although they may not be inclined to trade inside the division under any circumstance. The Dodgers, with Dioner Navarro and, yes, Rod Barajas, could also become sellers. Believe it or not, Barajas and his .233/.278/.440 and 7 homers is one of the more productive backstops in the league. Yeah, it's that bad out there.
When the going gets tough ... the tough get Tuffy? Reading catcher Tuffy Gosewisch is hitting a respectable 266/.310/.468 with four homers for the Phillies' Double-A affiliate. ... Doc stinks: At the plate, that is. So far this season, he's 1-for-22 (.045), although he does have four sacrifices. ... Poll: Do you think the Phillies' poor offensive numbers is due, in part, to the quality of opposing pitching they've faced this season?