PHILADELPHIA It's 5:45 p.m. before a 7 p.m. start and Brian Schneider is going through his usual routine in the clubhouse.

With a laminated chart in his left hand, Schneider tries to fend off an array of questions. After he does, Schneider makes a quick exit on his way to begin the usual pregame meeting with pitchers and catchers.

Roughly 30 minutes later, Schneider returns to the clubhouse, seeking to relax while grabbing a bite of food, glancing at the local newspapers, and fielding a final question from a sportswriter ready to depart for the press box. He also might have felt a little bit more at ease as he wasn't penciled into the starting lineup that particular evening.

In his 10 years as a major league catcher, Schneider has been through the same ritual too many times to count during his career with the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals and New York Mets. This season, however, the ritual along with his many other habits and traits tend to have a different feeling.

For the first time in his career, the 1995 Northampton High graduate can literally feel like he's playing in his backyard in his first season with the Philadelphia Phillies.

"Anytime you get to play for a team that you grew up rooting for is great," said Schneider, who signed a two-year contract with the Phillies in the offseason. "I can definitely say that this is a dream type situation for me.

"I really want to enjoy the two years that I have here (Philadelphia). It is also a place where I would like to play for a while. If it is a place where I can end my career, it would be fantastic. So far, it has been a great situation for me."

Like he has at his previous stops, Schneider has already endured his share of nagging injuries this season causing him to miss handfuls of games during different stints. In early May, he came "home" for the first time when he had a rehab assignment with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs due to an Achilles injury.

"It was fun when I was there (with the IronPigs)," recalled Schneider. "The guys in that clubhouse are great, and it was fun to hear everyone cheering. The people in the Lehigh Valley have always been very supportive of me wherever I have been.

"Having my family and friends at the park is always something special. It was also special to hear and see everyone and to be back around the places where I grew up. That feeling will always be special to me."

Being back in the Lehigh Valley has certainly rekindled his share of memories, but Schneider has also stimulated his own flame with the Phillies this season. In 32 games with the club through last Saturday, Schneider has a walk-off, 12th-inning homer against Cincinnati on July 8 and a two-run triple in a 5-4 series sweep win over Colorado July 26. His walk-off homer came just after he came off the disabled list due to a thumb injury, and the triple - a stand-up one - was his first since 2007.

Primarily serving as backup to starter Carlos Ruiz, Schneider has made the most of his opportunities this season, and he has enjoyed it as well.

"This has been a good year for me," related Schneider. "I've had the Achilles and the thumb (injuries) this season, but it hasn't really held me back. This is a great clubhouse with a great bunch of guys. We have a team where everyone contributes. Guys like myself who get starts now and then have made the most of them. It was good to come to a place where I knew a lot of guys already.

"We have had our share of slumps, but we can bounce back. We have had the big hit and we can chip away for runs. We all know it can be a big year for us."

As well as knowing it can be a big year for himself and the club, manager Charlie Manuel and his staff also recognize Schneider's contributions.

"He (Schneider) has been a successful major league catcher for 10 years," said bench coach Pete Mackanin, who previously managed in the Expos' farm system. "I remember when he first broke in with the Expos. He has been solid defensively over the years, and he has been a better hitter than his numbers indicate. (Schneider) has had some big hits for us this year."

With a career .250 average and 62 lifetime homers, Schneider contributions can't be totally found in his overall offensive production. Through 2003 to 2005 with the Expos/Nationals, Schneider gained his reputation for his defensive skills as he threw out 43.5 percent of basestealers during that span. He also is a backstop most pitchers fully trust.

"He (Schneider) has been a number one catcher on some clubs and it's great to have him here as a backup," added Mackanin. "You don't find too many guys with that caliber around. He has done a great job with our pitchers and has called some real good games. He knows how to handle a pitching staff."

"Brian knows what he is doing back there," added pitching coach Rich Dubee. "He has been around the game and knows how to call a solid game. Our pitchers are happy when we can have a veteran like him on the club. Brian has been in the league long enough and knows it well."

At age 33 with the heightened chance to reach the postseason for the first time in his career, Schneider has tried to take the season in stride despite it possibly being one with a storybook ending. Having the chance to visit family or himself visit them with a leisurely drive on the Pennsylvania Turnpike makes the scenario and the surroundings even more surreal.

"My family is always close," stated Schneider. "They may come to the ballpark or I might take a drive up there for dinner. Some days I just feel lucky to put on this uniform and to be here. It is a unique situation, and one that I have to take advantage in these (two) years. I always thought I would have the chance to come back. Now, I'm here and we have another shot to get to the playoffs.

"So far, things have been good.""This has been a good year for me," related Schneider. "I've had the Achilles and the thumb (injuries) this season, but it hasn't really held me back. This is a great clubhouse with a great bunch of guys. We have a team where everyone contributes. Guys like myself who get starts now and then have made the most of them. It was good to come to a place where I knew a lot of guys already.

"We have had our share of slumps, but we can bounce back. We have had the big hit and we can chip away for runs. We all know it can be a big year for us."

As well as knowing it can be a big year for himself and the club, manager Charlie Manuel and his staff also recognize Schneider's contributions.

"He (Schneider) has been a successful major league catcher for 10 years," said bench coach Pete Mackanin, who previously managed in the Expos' farm system. "I remember when he first broke in with the Expos. He has been solid defensively over the years, and he has been a better hitter than his numbers indicate. (Schneider) has had some big hits for us this year."

With a career .250 average and 62 lifetime homers, Schneider contributions can't be totally found in his overall offensive production. Through 2003 to 2005 with the Expos/Nationals, Schneider gained his reputation for his defensive skills as he threw out 43.5 percent of basestealers during that span. He also is a backstop most pitchers fully trust.

"He (Schneider) has been a number one catcher on some clubs and it's great to have him here as a backup," added Mackanin. "You don't find too many guys with that caliber around. He has done a great job with our pitchers and has called some real good games. He knows how to handle a pitching staff."

"Brian knows what he is doing back there," added pitching coach Rich Dubee. "He has been around the game and knows how to call a solid game. Our pitchers are happy when we can have a veteran like him on the club. Brian has been in the league long enough and knows it well."

At age 33 with the heightened chance to reach the postseason for the first time in his career, Schneider has tried to take the season in stride despite it possibly being one with a storybook ending. Having the chance to visit family or himself visit them with a leisurely drive on the Pennsylvania Turnpike makes the scenario and the surroundings even more surreal.

"My family is always close," stated Schneider. "They may come to the ballpark or I might take a drive up there for dinner. Some days I just feel lucky to put on this uniform and to be here. It is a unique situation, and one that I have to take advantage in these (two) years. I always thought I would have the chance to come back. Now, I'm here and we have another shot to get to the playoffs.

"So far, things have been good."