Amaro Talks About Ruf, Sizemore and Roster Spots

Ruben Amaro Jr.Ruben Amaro Jr. said the Phillies have about four or five decisions to make before they finalize the Opening Day roster.

One important decision has been made. Rule 5 Draft pick Odubel Herrera not only has made the team, he will be the Opening Day center fielder.

“He kind of fits the bill of what we were trying to do,” Amaro said before today’s Grapefruit League game against the Pirates at McKechnie Field. “We were trying to get younger, a little more athletic. He’s got good energy, he’s got a decent package. Is he going to be a .300 hitter toward the top of our lineup or wherever (Ryne Sandberg) puts him? I don’t know. We’re going to give him a shot. That’s what this season is about.”

Right fielder Domonic Brown is likely to open the season on the disabled list with tendinitis in his left Achilles, which would open up another roster spot. The Phillies also might carry an extra bench player or relief pitcher with no need for a fifth starter until April 12.

Darin Ruf is one of the only right-handed bats in camp with power. Amaro said Ruf is not a lock to make the team, but he also said Ruf playing in Triple-A is not ideal.

Read between the lines, folks. Ruf is a safe bet to make the team.

“He’s not really a natural outfielder,” said Amaro, when asked why Ruf has not received a longer look in left field. “We’re going to try to utilize speed at the top of the lineup and throughout the lineup rather than power because we just don’t have enough. Ruf can break in and get as many at-bats as he wants if he produces. He’ll get some chances to play.”

Asked about the lack of power in the outfield with Ben Revere in left and Herrera in center, Amaro said, “We knew we weren’t going to have any. We didn’t expect to have any power in our outfield. Or our infield. We didn’t have any expectations that we’d have power. We’re going to have to try to create runs with our legs and with decent at bats. That’s how we’re going to have to do it.”

Infielder Cesar Hernandez has hit just .133 in 45 at-bats this spring. Non-roster invitees Russ Canzler (.316) and Cord Phelps (.270) have outplayed him, but Hernandez is out of options so the Phillies could lose him if he does not make the team.

That alone could keep Hernandez on the roster.

“He kind of falls in that category of young player with some athleticism and such,” Amaro said.

Right-hander Phillippe Aumont (4.15 ERA in seven appearances) also is out of options. He seems to be on the outside looking in, but he could find a spot if the Phillies carry an extra relief pitcher through April 12.

“If we take 13 pitchers, he’d have a much better chance to be a part of that,” Amaro said.

The Phillies signed outfielder Grady Sizemore to a one-year, $2 million contract in October, despite posting a .580 OPS from Aug. 6 through the end of the season. Sizemore has hit just .147 in 34 at-bats this spring. Other outfielders in camp like Brian Bogusevic (.344 in 32 at-bats), Jordan Danks (.257 in 35 at-bats) and Jeff Francoeur (.206 in 34 at-bats) have either outperformed Sizemore of have skill sets that Sizemore does not have (i.e. better defensively). Amaro said Bogusevic, Danks, Francoeur or Canzler could be the team’s Opening Day right fielder.

That said, Sizemore is expected to make the team.

“For me he is (on the team),” Amaro said. “Sizemore can swing the bat.”

But the challenge is correctly weighing a player’s spring performance with his track record. The Phillies raved last spring about right-hander Jeff Manship. He had an excellent camp and made the team, despite 6.42 ERA in 52 big-league appearances over the previous five seasons.

Manship posted a 6.65 ERA in 20 appearances last season with the Phillies, falling in line with his career numbers.

Beware the player with big Spring Training numbers and far less impressive numbers in the regular season.

“That’s the danger of evaluating guys, and how you evaluate them, in Spring Training,” Amaro said. “You have to kind balance what the baseball card says and what their history is with how you think they are going to do and how you think they are going to react playing in the big leagues right now.”

11 Comments

Perfect picture to show what this season at the bank will look like….a sea of empty blue seats. Priceless. If you did this intentionally Todd, well played.

“We have no power. Therefore, Ruf cannot play.” What a f’in’ Idiot with a Capital I. How long can Middleton possibly let this Clownshoe run anything? This team is a shambles, with no plan.

If Ruf can’t play the outfield then why has he been kept in the organization Ryan Howard is at first and we all know why and Darrin Ruf needed to learn another position which was LF i’m not saying Ruf will be an all-star but he’s been given no chance to show that he indeed can’t handle the outfield. I know it’s going to be a long season and having Ruf on the bench doesn’t serve a purpose.

If C. Hernandez is on the 25 man roster, there is something radically WRONG !! Is Amaro trying to make this a latino team ? Why is O. Herrera (WHO) playing centerfield ? If they are talented – great . this lot IS NOT !

I was holding out hope thinking the Phillies could win 75 games. After reading this, I’m not sure they will win 65 games. AMARO MUST GO !!!!

I was watching the Mets game yesterday, with Mets announcers. They wer emaking fun of Odubel Herrera who has played 2 games in Centerfield and will be there for opening day. They have a point. Amaro says Ruf is not a natural outfielder, I guess Dominic Brown, Herrera and Revere are? Ruf has worked to learn the outfield and Revere has worked to improve in centerfield. It makes no sense. Amaro is nuts.

Well Ruben who do you think failed to get a power bat over thte last several years ? You know since Werth left.That would you.How is Aumont going to be even thought about making the team for any reason ? How much disaster do you need to witness beforei it sinks in that he has no control ? Just more bad decisions by you Ruben. How long cajn you roll this dreck out o the field and expect anyone to believe your nonsensical comments. Remember last year when you said to a reporter..Who said I was going to get a power bat. You have proven that on your own you aren’t measuring up to the task of putting a winnder on the field

Darin Ruf is as good a leftfielder as Pat Burrell, with whom we won one of our 2 World Championships, and better than Greg Luzinski, with whom we won our other. He is as good in the field as was Del Ennis, with whom we won the 1950 Pennant and better than Pete Incavighlia who was out there in 1993. Rueben is crazy and should be institutionalized.

Can someone please tell me how in the hell Amaro still has a job? He rode the glory of the team Gillick put together when we went to back to back WS, and the few winning seasons after that. Since taking office he has done nothing but overpay for mediocre talent, trade away youth for age and and sit back and blame other people (Manuel) for his mistakes! If he was GM of any other team, he would have been gone years ago. These “rebuilding” years are going to be for not as long as he is a decision maker in this organization. He should be on the unemployment line!!!

The Phillies have suffered from poor management and ownership for most of their 130 some years. It must be a curse. An evil spirit has been in the organization. I thought in 08 we had exorcized it, but no, it is still with us. We are back in the cellar with no hope for the immediate future.

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