The New York Yankees backup catcher became overwhelmed with emotions after receiving universal praise from the young Hispanic pitchers he’s worked with.
For the second-consecutive season, the New York Yankees‘ entire starting lineup is on the sidelines due to a variety of injuries. Once catcher Kyle Higashioka hit the injured list with a right oblique strain, the Yankees called up Erik Kratz, the 40-year-old catcher who spent a majority of his career in the minors. With Kratz only spending five seasons in MLB, the veteran got to work with a plethora of young pitchers, and took on a pseudo role of the team’s fatherly figure.
Kratz is set to catch young Yankees pitcher Deivi Garcia in the second game of the team’s doubleheader against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday. Prior to the game, Kratz was asked in a conference call about what it meant to him to help young Hispanic pitchers realize their big league dreams. Kratz began crying when mentioning the hardships they went through and said he treats them like his kids because he hopes someone can treat his children the same way when they grow older.
Kratz loves playing the “Dad” role on the Yankees
The Yankees signed Kratz last season, where he reported to the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders. Upon his signing, Garcia was called up to the team, and that’s where the two built their bond. Kratz calls Garcia his son, while the young pitcher calls the catcher “padre.” After the 2019 season, the Yankees signed him to another minor-league contract.
After Higashioka went down with his injury last month, Kratz was called up and he received the opportunity to catch Garcia’s major-league debut on Aug. 30 against the New York Mets. Garcia pitched six scoreless innings, where he struck out six batter and allowed just four hits. During the game, Kratz looked into the camera and said with a smile, “I’m excited to play catch with my son.”
For Kratz, the role he plays in helping young pitchers like Garcia succeed in the big leagues is much more important than his individual success. If this video proves anything, it’s that Kratz is an amazing and quality human being.