Knapp’s strong effort coming at the right time

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Knapp, 25, is competing with non-roster invitees Ryan Hanigan, 36, and Bryan Holaday, 29, to be the Phillies’ backup catcher. The Phillies’ front office met with manager Pete Mackanin and his coaching staff following the game to discuss that job and others still available.

“We’re going to try to get as close to the finalization as we can,” Mackanin said about the Opening Day roster.

Knapp catches Osuna stealing

The Phillies have three bench and two bullpen jobs up for grabs.

Knapp is hitting .184 (7-for-38) with two doubles, two home runs, four RBIs, one walk and 16 strikeouts. Hanigan is hitting .389 (7-for-18) with one double, two RBIs, seven walks and five strikeouts, and Holaday is hitting .208 (5-for-24) with four doubles, one home run, four RBIs, two walks and six strikeouts.

The offensive numbers and experience favor Hanigan — Mackanin said he prefers a veteran catcher who has good game-calling skills — but Knapp has been better lately. He is hitting .385 (5-for-13) with one double and one home run in the last five days.

“I struggled a little bit early, just taking a lot of time off between at-bats and behind the plate,” Knapp said. “But this past week I’ve been able to get in there and get in the flow of the game a little bit.”

Of course, the pressure of making his first big league roster has come into play.

“Yeah, it was probably a little bit of that — trying to make the team, trying to do too much,” Knapp said.

The Phillies are not expected to add more than one or two non-roster invitees to the roster, which could help Knapp’s cause. If a combination of non-roster invitees Chris Coghlan, Brock Stassi and Daniel Nava take two bench jobs, the Phillies might stick with Knapp. Infielder Jesmuel Valentin, who is on the 40-man, remains a candidate.

The decision is coming soon. Coghlan, Hanigan and Holaday can exercise out clauses in their contracts this week. Coghlan can ask for his release Sunday, although the Phillies then have until Tuesday to place him on the roster.

Hanigan and Holaday have similar stipulations.

Knapp made his case to Mackanin last week, telling him that despite the early results he has not lost confidence in his ability to hit. He has hit .276 with a .770 OPS in four Minor League seasons.

“It was more for me, I think,” Knapp said about the talk with Mackanin. “To get it off my chest. To say, I’m not worried about it, I’m confident in my abilities. I know I’m going to figure it out. Just keep putting me in there and I’ll get it.”

“I know he can hit,” Mackanin said. “All the Minor League people tell me he can hit. Knapp is holding his own right now.”

Infielder Andres Blanco and outfielder Aaron Altherr are locks for the first two bench jobs.

Left-handers Adam Morgan, Joely Rodriguez and Cesar Ramos and right-handers Alec Asher and Luis Garcia are candidates for the bullpen jobs, although Ramos is not on the 40-man.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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