Erik Kratz is getting the opportunity of a lifetime thanks to Carlos Ruiz's mistake.

But Kratz is not looking at himself as just a stand-in, he wants to be a big part of this team.

"I want to be ready to make the team and contribute, not make the team and be 'this will be cool to watch some games and hangout.' No, I want to contribute. I want to be ready game one," Kratz said.

Kratz is 32 years old, but he only has 61 games of major league experience, so Spring Training takes on added value.

"Just the more exposure you have with the pitchers on the staff, especially in my position...getting an opportunity to catch these pitchers, it's huge," Kratz said.

"He proved to us and himself that he can play in the big leagues and he can catch. I think the pitchers on our team definitely got some work throwing to him and I think they feel comfortable with him," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.

For Kratz, being the Phillies Opening Day catcher takes on extra meaning. He grew up in Montgomery County as a diehard Phillies fan.

"It's special just to be in this locker room, to the wear the 'P.' It's awesome," Kratz said.

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philadelphia phillies, cliff lee, jimmy rollins, charlie manuel, chase utley, mlb, ducis rodgers
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