Rupp surprised by promotion to Lehigh Valley

An injury to Erik Kratz at the Triple-A level started the dominoes falling. One of those dominoes became 24-year old Cameron Rupp, who was promoted from Reading to Lehigh Valley to take over the catching duties at Triple-A.

The Phillies have a number of good catching prospects who are battling for positioning on the prospect rankings. Sebastian Valle used to be considered the best of the best, but his status has fallen on some hard times. The latest evidence of the juggling of catching prospect rankings came Sunday night when Reading's Cameron Rupp was promoted to Lehigh Valley, ahead of Valle. 

"I saw the injury to Kratz, but you never know what calls are going to be made," said Rupp of his promotion. "I just go out every day and what happens, happens."

Valle and Rupp have been splitting time behind the plate at Reading this season, with Rupp catching in 32 games and Valle in 28. On the season, Valle is hitting 5-12-.213/.256/.410, while Rupp is hitting 8-21-.245/.329/.455 with the Fightins. Defensively, Valle is ahead of Rupp in his development and has thrown out 27% of would-be base stealers compared to the 24% that Rupp has thrown out.

"It got tough a little bit [splitting time with Valle], especially in National League games, but Dusty [Wathan, Reading manager] tried to get both of our bats in the lineup," explained Rupp. "We had our ups and downs, but you're put in the situation and you just have to deal with it."

Valle will now get the majority of playing time at Reading, but the Phillies continue to work with him on learning to play in the outfield. Valle has played just one game in left field, but works with the Phillies minor league instructors on learning the position as a fallback to catching.

To replace Rupp at Reading, the Phillies have moved catcher Justin Dalles from Lakewood to the Fightins. It will technically be Dalles' second stint with Reading, although his first visit lasted literally just a few hours before he was reassigned to Lakewood.

The roster spot at Lehigh Valley opened when Steven Lerud was recalled by the Phillies to replace Erik Kratz, who went on the DL with a hamstring injury over the weekend. Another Lehigh Valley catcher, Tommy Joseph, is currently playing at Clearwater after suffering a concussion on May 4th. Joseph is the top catching prospect in the organization and will eventually return to Lehigh Valley, but the Phillies are being cautious with him and allowing him to return slowly from the concussion. Phillies assistant director of minor league operations, Steve Noworyta said the Phillies realize that Joseph missed a good amount of time and it will likely take him a while to get back to where he was prior to the injury.

Rupp is just 24 and was drafted by the Phillies in the third round of the 2010 Draft out of the University of Texas at Austin.

The promotion to Lehigh Valley is his first stint at the Triple-A level, a pretty good pace for a guy just drafted in 2010. Noworyta said the Phillies have been impressed with how Rupp has handled pitchers at Reading and how well he adjusted to playing at the Double-A level.

"There's a definite adjustment [moving to Double-A]. The pitchers have more of a consistent approach to facing hitters, but you adjust to what they try to do against you," said Rupp, who was hitting .317 (13-for-41) with three home runs, three doubles and six runs scored in his last 12 games at Reading.

As for Kratz, he underwent an MRI on Monday that revealed a torn medial meniscus, which will require surgery. The timetable for his return won't be known until after the surgery which hasn't been scheduled yet is performed.

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