Phillies DFA Cameron Rupp as opening day roster becomes clearer

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 17: Cameron Rupp
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 17: Cameron Rupp /

A long-time member of the Phillies has lost out on a bench job

Cameron Rupp, one of the Phillies longest-tenured players, was designated for assignment Sunday morning with less than a week until the club opens the season in Atlanta.

Right-handed pitcher Drew Hutchinson was added to the 40-man roster and is likely to make the 25-man roster in light of Mark Leiter Jr. and Jerad Eickhoff’s injuries.

The organization now has 10 days to either trade, release, or fully waive Rupp to another team. If Rupp is not claimed by another team, which is unlikely given his experience, the Phillies could send him to Lehigh Valley as an insurance policy.

MIAMI, FL – AUGUST 31: Cameron Rupp #29 of the Philadelphia Phillies hits during a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on August 31, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Rupp entered camp as one of three catchers on the 40-man roster, and with top prospect Jorge Alfaro locked into the starting role Rupp and former prospect Andrew Knapp were set in a battle of the backstops.

The 29-year-old Rupp hit a disappointing .189 with one home run in 37 at-bats during spring training. Knapp’s hitting was equally unimpressive with a .179 average, but versatility is ultimately what kept Knapp around. Manager Gabe Kapler has preached versatility since day one in camp, and Knapp’s ability to switch-hit and play first base likely gave him the upper hand over the more experienced Rupp.

Rupp was one of three players (Cesar Hernandez and Luis Garcia) to have played under managers Ryne Sandberg, Pete Mackanin, and Kapler since 2013. Garcia and Hernandez also played under Charlie Manuel before his departure midway through the 2013 season.

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Drafted by Philadelphia with the 108th overall pick in 2010 out of The University of Texas, Rupp was never considered to be a big-time prospect in the organization. Built like an NFL linebacker with the strength of Paul Bunyan, Rupp emerged as the starter over Carlos Ruiz in 2015.

Getting nearly a full season as the starter in 2016, Rupp hit 16 home runs with a team-high 26 doubles. He established himself as an average defender behind home plate, and became a leader of the team in their darkest hours.

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Expect to see an American League team needing a backup catcher or designated hitter to pick up Rupp’s contract on waivers.