+0
I normally use in place of when replacing the subject, but intead of when replacing the object.



  1. I was playing catcher in place of the usual catcher.



  2. I ate eggs instead of toast for breakfast.
Is this correct, according to some rule, or just a habit? Is it possible to used instead of in the first sentence.
+0
Old Man GordonI normally use in place of when replacing the subject, but intead of when replacing the object.

  1. I was playing catcher in place of the usual catcher.

  2. I ate eggs instead of toast for breakfast.
Is this correct, according to some rule, or just a habit? Is it possible to used instead of in the first sentence.

I don't think you will find people making much distinction between these two formulations. Feel free to use whichever seems best in the situation.
Comments  
I don't know if there is any rule, but I have no problem with:
I was playing in goal instead/in place of the goalkeeper.
I had fish in place of/instead of meat.
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
 RayH's reply was promoted to an answer.
I have just a little problem with the first sentence:
I was playing catcher instead of outfielder = normally I play outfieder.
I was playing catcher in the place of Tom (the usualy catcher).

I think there is less chance for ambiguity this way.

Either way for the second sentence...