The IronPigs have swapped catchers with Reading. Rene Garcia, who came up through the Astros’ system and was highly regarded as a premium defensive player behind the plate, has changed spots with veteran backstop John Hester. Hester was activated from the DL earlier this week to take the spot of Gabriel Lino who was injured in the game Monday night. Hester had suffered a knee injury during Spring Training.
Hester is 31 years old, came up in the Diamondbacks system, and has 93 games of MLB experience with Arizona and the Angels. He played in the International League before in 2011 and 2012 with Norfolk. He’s a righty, and went 0-for-3 the other day in his only appearance in Reading.
Well, I think Garcia gives the Reading team a premium defensive catcher to work with those starting pitcher prospects. With Hester’s experience, I think he becomes the third option for Philly–behind Chooch and Ruppy–in light of Tommy Joseph’s slow start. Finally, I think Tommy will benefit from working with the veteran, as well.
I’d look for them to split time–or maybe a skew towards Hester in the near term. They’ll want Hester up to speed so that he’s sharp in case he’s needed in Philly. For Tommy, I’d like to see him play (almost) every day later in the summer. He’s not hitting great, but he’s staying healthy and the experience will be good for him.
One more thing: I’m wondering if it will help our struggling pitchers to have a more veteran AAA/MLB catcher behind the plate. It will be something to watch.
Check back, and I’ll add a printable roster once it comes through from the media department.
See you at the park,