Salisbury one-on-one with Sandberg
Carlos Ruiz suffered a bruised bone in his left hand and was not in Saturday's starting lineup. (AP)
ATLANTA –- Carlos Ruiz did not play Saturday night because of a bone bruise on his left hand.
Unless he makes a pretty quick recovery, Ruiz will not play in Sunday afternoon’s season finale.
Put two and two together and you can conclude that Ruiz may have caught his final game for the Phillies.
Ruiz, 34, has been a fixture behind the plate for the Phils since 2007. He will be eligible for free agency this winter. He would like to re-sign with the Phillies and the team would like to have him, but you never know how these things will work out.
Ruiz has pondered his uncertain future in recent days.
“I don’t know where I’m going to be,” he said Saturday. “Maybe here or somewhere else. I hope here. It’s something I’m talking to my family about almost every day.
“I’m really happy here, but at the same time it’s not in my hands.”
GM Ruben Amaro Jr. wants Ruiz back.
“I think that’s clear,” Amaro said. “He is a priority just because of the position. We don't have anybody who is going to step in. (Cameron) Rupp has done a nice job. (Erik) Kratz, when he played, did OK. But I can't anoint either one of those guys as an everyday catcher.
“I’ve talked to Carlos. He’s talked to me. I think mutually we would like to continue the relationship. But again, it takes two to tango. At some point we'll get together, negotiate, and see where it goes.”
Amaro was asked if there have been talks with Ruiz’s agent, Marc Kligman.
“I can't really get into it,” he said.
Ruiz said he did not know whether negotiations were ongoing. However, he did say he hoped to have a deal with the Phillies before officially becoming a free agent after the World Series. That would seem to indicate that there have been discussions.
“I told my agent don’t tell me anything,” he said. “I want to keep playing and let him do his job.”
Ruiz made $5 million this season. It was the final year of a four-year, $13.35 million contract.
As much as he wants to return to the Phillies, Ruiz admitted that he was curious to see what he might be worth on the open market. There should be significant interest in Ruiz. He struggled early in the season, but has put together a solid second half. From Aug. 1 to Sept. 14, he hit .350 with a .950 OPS. Bothered by a sore catching hand, he has tailed off recently, but still has a .484 batting average with runners in scoring position since Aug. 8. That’s the best in the majors over that span.
“I hope I don’t have to go through that,” he said of the full free-agent process. “But if nothing happens before the World Series, I’m going to see what the market is. But I hope to have something done before then.”
Ruiz was sporting a bruise above his left palm, just under the index finger. It was caused from continuous catching.
“It has bothered me for a couple of days,” he said. “When I catch, the ball hits me in the same spot, over and over and over. It hurts real bad. Rest is going to be very important.”