Darin Ruf returns prepared for possible look at 1B

Darin Ruf returns prepared for possible look at 1B
July 22, 2014, 8:45 pm
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Darin Ruf played four of his last five games for Triple A Lehigh Valley at first base. (AP)

It’s been a tough year for Darin Ruf.

First, an oblique injury short-circuited what was an excellent spring-training performance, then a cracked wrist suffered while playing at Triple A landed him back on the disabled list.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever had to deal with injuries, so it’s been mentally draining,” the first baseman/outfielder said after returning to the majors Tuesday afternoon when John Mayberry Jr. went on the disabled list with a left wrist injury.

Ruf was in the majors for 10 days in late May, but wasn’t getting a lot of playing time. Team officials wanted him to go back to Triple A and get a couple weeks’ worth of at-bats before coming back to Philadelphia, maybe to push Domonic Brown and get a look in left field.

But Ruf ran into a wall his first day in Lehigh Valley. He suffered a knee wound and the cracked wrist. So much for a quick return to the majors.

Ruf has played the last 13 games at Triple A and was 6 for 12 with three extra-base hits before coming back to Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Interestingly, Ruf played first base in four of his last five games at Lehigh Valley. It’s no secret that Phillies officials are growing impatient with Ryan Howard. Ruf’s recent time at first base could have been prep work for his getting reps at the position if Howard continues to struggle. Manager Ryne Sandberg has made it clear he’s ready to try to some different mixes of players. He was waiting for players like Ruf to get healthy.

Ruf, who will turn 28 next week, forced himself into the Phillies’ consciousness by hitting .317 with 38 homers and 104 RBIs at Double A Reading in 2012. He spent the second half of last season with the Phils, playing mostly right field, and hit .247 with 14 homers and 30 RBIs in 73 games. Ruf struck out 91 times in 251 at-bats. He was not able to convince team officials that he should be the everyday rightfielder in 2014, and the club signed free agent Marlon Byrd.

In his return to the majors, Ruf could see time in left field as well as well as first base.

“There's two months left, and two months is all that I've got, so I have to try and make the most of it,” he said. “It's definitely enough time to get some games under my belt.”

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