It’s Official: Darin Ruf Gets The Call
With Sunday night's news that the Phillies will select from Double-A Reading the contract of Darin Ruf, who plays to the soft spot of this particular baseball man like no other, Charlie Manuel had to be beyond giddy.
But, considering the position he was in, facing the media for the first time since the decision and after the Phillies 7-4 win over the Rockies in the second half of a day/night doubleheader, he had to play it cool. Or at least try.
Try, that is.
"Who?" Manuel replied when asked about his plans for him.
A follow-up question ensued. Manuel backpedaled, and indulged.
"If he's here, I will," Manuel said with a smirk, not realizing the team's hand had already been tipped via press box PA.
"I throw him in, I'll let you see," he said. "I wanna see him."
Does he ever.
Ruf, the 26-year-old Eastern League MVP thanks to a 2012 resume that's had Manuel and the rest of the baseball world's interest pleasantly piqued, mashed 38 homers (breaking Ryan Howard's long-standing record) and stuck a 1.028 OPS in the minors this season.
That obligation Saturday, when the R-Phils lost to the Yankees Double-A affiliate.
Ruf's schedule has been cleared just 24 hours. But he's been on Manuel's radar for some time now.
"You (used to have to) do something to get to the big leagues," Manuel said two weeks back, pretty high praise when you consider the armfuls of players Manuel must've seen throughout a managerial tenure that began in 2000 with Cleveland. Which makes nothing of the rest of his time in baseball game.
"Evidently, Ruf's an old throwback."
And tomorrow will be the newest Phillie. To free a roster spot, Michael Stutes, who had shoulder surgery in June and hasn't appeared since April 22, will be moved to the 60-day DL.
Ruf figures to factor in somewhere in the outfield, considering the carousel that's included, in no particular order, Dom Brown, John Mayberry, Juan Pierre, Ty Wigginton, Laynce Nix, and even Michael Martinez, with nowhere near Ruf's power potential or, frankly, must-have glove work, even compared to a guy who Manuel has already admitted would be a defensive liability.
Not that Manuel minds, though.
“I’ve done it before. If a guy can hit, his defense gets a little bit better.”
That's what Manuel said two weeks back, with a grin not nearly as wide as the one he wore Sunday.
Imagine what it'll be like Monday.