Yankee catcher Erik Kratz isn’t new to being in a winning clubhouse. This is his sixth team since making his debut in 2010. He’s bounced around with the Pirates, Phillies, Blue Jays, Royals and Astros, including two stints with Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. He played in a pair of games for the 2011 Phillies division title team, and also appeared on the 2014-15 Royals teams that went to the World Series.
Kratz was signed after it looked like the Yankees might lose Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine at the same time after the brawl in Detroit.
Kratz, wearing number 36, has played in four games and has a 1.000 batting average, with two hits in two at-bats. His locker also happens to be between Sanchez and Aaron Judge.
Kratz took two minutes to talk to NY Sports Day after Tuesday’s game.
NYSD: You’ve been on some September teams like Kansas City and Philly when they were winning. How does this clubhouse compare to that?
Erik Kratz: Very similar. Very similar. Both teams were different. In ’11, when I was in Philly, we had a fifth division title, so it was like old hat. We had won 102 games, we clinched early, so it was different. It was very businesslike. In KC, it was 100 percent the goal from spring training that we were gonna win the division, we’re gonna make the playoffs, and we’re gonna go to the World Series. So it was like still that youthful jovialness from everybody. Here, I feel like it is such a great mesh of both. You have guys that have never been there. You have veterans that are still excited about getting back there, but you also have the professionalism of the preparation before games. Just being extremely prepared for the game is something that the younger guys, when they go to another team or later in their career, they’ll be like, ‘I remember when so-and-so did this’. Just learning things by osmosis, not even knowing that they’re learning it from the guys that have been there. So I guess it’s the same, but I guess it’s completely different too.
NYSD: How have you liked playing in New York?
EK: Love it. You see it from afar, you see the organization from afar. You always wonder, how’s this organization? I’ve been to quite a few of them and it’s a pro organization. It’s an organization that prides itself being a class act, but also puts a really good product on the field. It’s a good part about this. It’s awesome.
NYSD: What is it like being between Sanchez and Judge?
EK: I just feel bad because I took their empty locker because this is where they put all their merchandise, I think. So now, they’re locker is getting more cramped.
NYSD: Judge has hit 50 home runs but you’re batting 1.000. Isn’t that the real feat?
EK: Well, you know I think he’s really rubbed off on me. So, his abilities have rubbed off on me from osmosis, again. Just by being next to him.