Darin Ruf returns prepared for possible look at 1B

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Darin Ruf returns prepared for possible look at 1B

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.”

MLB Notes: Nationals ace Max Scherzer scratched with sore neck

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USA Today Images

MLB Notes: Nationals ace Max Scherzer scratched with sore neck

SAN DIEGO -- Max Scherzer was scratched from his scheduled start Friday night due to a sore neck and the Washington Nationals turned to left-hander Matt Grace to face the San Diego Padres.

Manager Dusty Baker announced the move about two hours before first pitch.

Scherzer was coming off a 10-strikeout performance against San Francisco.

Grace is 1-0 with a 4.46 ERA. He grew up in the Los Angeles area and played at UCLA.

Scherzer is 12-5 with a 2.25 ERA this season.

Cubs: Lester placed on 10-day DL
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs got an encouraging report on Jon Lester before placing the ace left-hander on the 10-day disabled list on Friday.

Lester was examined by team physician Dr. Stephen Gryzlo after he left Chicago's 13-10 loss to Cincinnati on Thursday in the second inning. He was diagnosed with tightness in his left lat and general shoulder fatigue, but his shoulder and side were deemed structurally sound.

"I think the big thing is just the overall performance was not there," Lester said. "This is something that we tried to manage and get through. It just got to a point where you're doing a disservice to your team by going out there and not being able to perform.

"You feel like you can't help (going on the DL), but at the same time I wasn't helping out there. Let's get this thing right and get back to being myself" (see full story).

Dodgers: Gonzalez activated from DL
DETROIT -- The Los Angeles Dodgers have activated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the disabled list, and he's set to start Friday night against Detroit.

The 35-year-old Gonzalez has missed over two months because of a herniated lumbar disk. He last played for the Dodgers on June 11.

Gonzalez went 6 for 31 with a home run and six RBIs during a nine-game rehab assignment with Class A Rancho Cucamonga and Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Tonight's lineup: Odubel Herrera out 4th straight game; DL stint coming?

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CSN

Tonight's lineup: Odubel Herrera out 4th straight game; DL stint coming?

Odubel Herrera to the disabled list is looking more and more likely.

Herrera, nursing a left hamstring injury, is out of the lineup Friday night for a fourth straight game as the Phillies play Game 2 of their four-game series against the Giants at AT&T Park.

Well before Friday's game, the centerfielder tested his hamstring on the field with an athletic trainer and walked off in not-so-promising fashion, according to CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury.

At this point, the Phillies are contemplating a DL stint for their hottest hitter.

"It's a day-to-day thing," manager Pete Mackanin said Thursday. "He might be going on the DL. We're thinking about it."

The team is awaiting word from its medical staff on that decision, Mackanin said.

Herrera has hit safely in 17 straight games, a stretch in which he's slashing .379/.431/.636 with three homers, two triples, four doubles and 10 RBIs.

Nick Williams will make his fourth straight start in center field. Cameron Perkins will get the nod in right field and hit eighth, while Jorge Alfaro is slotted behind the plate to catch Zach Eflin and bat seventh.

Maikel Franco and Tommy Joseph are in the fifth and sixth spots, respectively. Both are struggling mightily. Franco is hitting .190 in August with one homer, 11 strikeouts and no walks, while Joseph is 5 for his last 52 (.096) with just one extra-base hit (a double) over that span.

Eflin opposes Giants left-hander Matt Moore. For more on the game, read Corey Seidman's game notes right here (see story).

Here are the lineups:

Phillies
1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Nick Williams, CF
4. Rhys Hoskins, LF
5. Maikel Franco, 3B
6. Tommy Joseph, 1B
7. Jorge Alfaro, C
8. Cameron Perkins, RF
9. Zach Eflin, P

Giants
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Hunter Pence, RF
3. Jarrett Park, LF
4. Buster Posey, C
5. Pablo Sandoval, 3B
6. Brandon Crawford, SS
7. Ryder Jones, 1B
8. Kelby Tomlinson, 2B
9. Matt Moore, P