Results tagged ‘ Carlos Ruiz ’

Chooch’s Left Hand is OK

Carlos RuizCarlos Ruiz appeared just fine, laughing and talking with teammates in front of his locker this morning at Bright House Field.

He got hit in his left hand with a pitch in the ninth inning last night in a Grapefruit League game against the Boston Red Sox in Ft. Myers. The Phillies called it a bruise, which seemed to be confirmed Friday when x-rays came back negative.

“Today it felt great,” Ruiz said.

Ruiz has been suspended the first 25 games of the season after testing positive for a banned stimulant. He is eligible to play in his first regular-season game April 28 against the New York Mets at Citi Field. He is eligible to begin a rehab assignment April 23.

Ruiz Apologizes

Carlos RuizThis is not the spot Carlos Ruiz wanted to be this afternoon.

He took a seat on a picnic bench, just outside the Phillies clubhouse at Bright House Field. Reporters and TV cameras surrounded him as planes buzzed overhead, generators whirred and wind whipped the palm trees nearby. The words coming from the typically soft-spoken Ruiz’s mouth were barely audible, but intentionally or unintentionally he repeated his message so everybody eventually heard what he had to say about his 25-game suspension following the use of Adderall, which is in violation of the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy.

Ruiz got emotional at the end, his eyes welling up.

“Everybody,” he said, “I feel so sorry. It’s very difficult, having to explain. I love baseball. I love my city, Philadelphia, and Panama. I want to do my best and show everybody … I’ll do my best.”

Ruiz got caught twice using Adderall, which is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. But Major League Baseball bans it because it is an amphetamine, unless a player receives a therapeutic use exemption.

Ruiz did not have the exemption.

“I got caught two times, and I have to pay for that,” he said. “I want to put that behind and now focus on this year and give it 100 percent for the city and organization.”

Asked if he would try to receive a theraputic use exemption for Addreall, Ruiz said, “That’s something that’s between my doctor and me. Major League Baseball has rules, and when you make a mistake, you’re going to pay. So I’ll pay my 25 games, and I apologize to my teammates, my organization, my family and fans, and I’m ready to put everything behind and get ready for the regular season.”

Ruiz will be able to participate in Spring Training workouts and Grapefruit League games in Florida in February and March. He also will be allowed to take batting practice before the gates open before regular-season games. He is eligible to begin a rehab assignment five days before the end of his suspension, which would be April 23.

He is eligible to rejoin the team April 28 against the Mets at Citi Field.

But what player will he be once he returns?

Ruiz, who will forfeit about $770,000 of his $5 million salary, had a career season in 2012, hitting .325 with 32 doubles, 16 home runs, 68 RBIs, a .394 on-base percentage, a .540 slugging percentage and a .935 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. But some will view those numbers skeptically considering the help he received artificially.

“I am working really hard,” said Ruiz, when asked if he can put up similar numbers without the help of amphetamines. “I trust myself to put up some good numbers. But at the same time, baseball is baseball. You have to work hard every day, and when you work hard, you get a lot of good things.”

Ruiz, 34, will be a free agent after this season, which means this is a big year for him. He hopes it ends better than it began Wednesday.

“I feel so bad for this,” he said. “I’m trying to put everything behind me and do my best this year and bring a championship back to Philadelphia.”

Phillies’ Top 20 Prospects

MLB.com ranks the Phillies’ top 20 prospects.

Click this link to read the story.

Click this link to read profiles on the top 20.

Catcher Tommy Joseph ranks third in the system behind left-hander Jesse Biddle and right-hander Ethan Martin. Joseph will be interesting to watch in 2013. He will be competing with Sebastian Valle (ranked eighth) for the starting catching job with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. If Joseph wins the job and makes great strides this season, you wonder how the Phillies will view Carlos Ruiz‘s impending free agency? Ruiz is 34, so he isn’t young anymore. If Joseph looks great at Triple-A and Ruiz struggles following his 25-game suspension for using a banned stimulant, which way will the Phillies lean? Ruiz is immensely popular in the Phillies clubhouse. The pitchers love him. Everybody respects him. But the Phillies need to start getting younger. Maybe they look there.

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How does MLB.com come up with its Top 100 Prospect rankings?

This year it spoke to 25 individuals in the industry: scouting directors, scouts, front office executives, etc. Those 25 talent evaulators then ranked their top 50 prospects in a format similar to an AP college football or basketball poll. The No. 1 player on each person’s list receives 50 points. The No. 2 player receives 49 points. The 50th player receives one point. You get the idea. Jesse Biddle ranked 60th overall and Ethan Martin ranked 80th. MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo said he originally had Martin ranked lower in the Phillies’ organizational rankings, but moved him up based on the opinions of those talent evaluators putting together their top 50 lists. Interesting stuff.

Chooch Suspended 25 Games

Chooooooooch?

Major League Baseball announced this afternoon that Carlos Ruiz has been suspended 25 games for using an amphetamine. The suspension begins at the beginning of the 2013 season, which means Ruiz is unable to play until April 28 against the New York Mets at Citi Field.

“I am sincerely regretful for my mistake in taking a prohibited stimulant,” Ruiz said in a statement. “I apologize to my teammates, the Phillies organization and the Philadelphia fans … I look forward to returning to the field and working toward bringing a championship back to Philadelphia in 2013.”

Losing Ruiz the first month of the season will make that pursuit a little more difficult. Ruiz, who will forfeit about $770,000 of his $5 million salary, had a career-season in 2012, hitting .325 with 32 doubles, 16 home runs, 68 RBIs, a .394 on-base percentage, a .540 slugging percentage and a .935 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.

This is the second time Ruiz has tested positive for an amphetamine. The first time a player tests positive for a prohibited stimulant the results remain private and the player is not suspended.

“The Phillies fully support Major League Baseball’s Drug Program,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said in a statement. “We are disappointed by the news of this violation of the program. We will support Carlos in an appropriate manner and move forward to achieve our goal to play championship-caliber baseball in 2013.”

The suspension means Erik Kratz likely will open the season as the team’s starting catcher.

Kratz hit .248 with nine doubles, nine home runs, 26 RBIs and an .809 OPS in 50 games last season. But he hit just .181 with two doubles, two home runs, nine RBIs and a .515 OPS in 23 games from Aug. 24 through the end of the regular season.

Ruiz’s absence the first month of the season means catching prospects Tommy Joseph and Sebastian Valle could get closer looks in Spring Training as the Phillies will need a backup catcher. Brian Schneider is not expected back.

Ruiz will be able to participate in Spring Training workouts and Grapefruit League games in Florida in February and March. He also will be allowed to take batting practice before the gates open before regular-season games. He is eligible to begin a rehab assignment five days before the end of his suspension, which would be April 23.

Rollins Wins Fourth Gold Glove

Jimmy Rollins has been one of the best shortstops in baseball for years.

He got a little hardware today to prove it.

Rollins won his fourth National League Gold Glove Award. He previously won in 2007, ’08 and ’09 to rank third in franchise history with four Gold Gloves. Only Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt (10) and centerfielder Garry Maddox (eight) have won more.

Rollins’ career .983 fielding percentage ranks third in baseball history behind Troy Tulowitzki (.985) and Omar Vizquel (.984). His .978 fielding percentage this season led the league. He committed just 13 errors in 594 chances.

Good year, right?

“Good and average,” Rollins said by telephone tonight. “I felt I did a lot of things good. I scored 100 runs, which is something I wanted to do. I stole 30 bags. Those are just benchmarks I have to reach every year. Obviously, winning the Gold Glove is just an affirmation to the work I do every day at shortstop. But obviously I would like to hit .300 and score 150 runs. There’s always room (for improvement) … every athlete, no matter how good a season they have, there’s always room. When you have a season where you did good in some places and some places you could do better, it just leaves a lot more out there to continue to work for.”

Carlos Ruiz lost to Yadier Molina for the NL Gold Glove for catchers.

Phils Pick Up Chooch’s Option

Carlos Ruiz had been one of the best hitters in baseball before he suffered a foot injury in August.

So it came to nobody’s surprise today when the Phillies picked up the $5 million club option for next season. The Phillies had a $500,000 buyout, but there was no way they were going to take that. Ruiz hit .325 with 32 doubles, 16 home runs, 68 RBIs and a .935 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 114 games this season.

The Phillies declined their side of a $5.5 million mututal option with Placido Polanco. They will pay him a $1 million buyout instead. They also declined a $2.5 million option for Jose Contreras and a $4 million option for Ty Wigginton. Both will receive $500,000 buyouts.

Juan Pierre and Brian Schneider also became free agents, although neither are likely to be back.

Free agents are eligible to negotiate and sign with any team beginning at 12:01 a.m. EST Saturday.

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Also, MLB.com’s Jake Kaplan caught up yesterday with Vance Worley. Read the story about Worley’s rehab from elbow surgery here.

Bad Weekend, Bad Signs

That couldn’t have gone much worse, huh?

The Phillies entered this weekend’s series against the Astros as the hottest team in baseball, but lost three of four to the worst team in baseball. They’re back under .500 and four behind the Cardinals in the National League Wild Card race with 15 games to play. I’m not going to say it’s impossible to make the postseason, but …

  • Even if the Cardinals finish just 7-8 they will be 84-78.
  • The Phillies would need to finish 11-4 just to tie. That means they would have to win two of three in four of their remaining five series, and sweep the fifth.
  • And that only works if the Cardinals stumble and the Dodgers, Brewers or Pirates (unlikely) don’t outplay them.

The Cardinals play their next nine games against the Astros and Cubs, while the Phillies have nine of their final 12 games against the Braves and Nationals. And again, don’t forget the Dodgers, Brewers and Pirates are between the Cardinals and Phillies in the standings.

Maybe a bad weekend against the Astros shouldn’t have been a huge surprise. The Phillies had been on a great run, but we saw many of the holes this team had showed the first four months of the season:

  • An inconsistent offense. The Phillies were 5-for-31 (.161) with runners in scoring position in their three losses against the Astros. Three of the top four hitters in their lineup are hitting no better than .254: Chase Utley (.254), Jimmy Rollins (.252) and Ryan Howard (.229). The Phillies have some offensive holes to fill in the offseason, but I’m sure they’ll be expecting Rollins, Utley and Howard to sit atop their lineup in 2013. That is not entirely comforting. The Phillies can talk about injuries and bounce back seasons for Utley and Howard, but it is far from a lock they will completely rebound. The numbers for those three players have been in decline the last few years anyway. Howard’s OPS has dropped every year since his MVP year in 2006, except 2009. Utley’s OPS this season (.815) is up from last year, but it’s still his second lowest since he became an everyday player in 2005. Rollins’ OPS (.740) is up four points from last season, but overall he hasn’t approached his numbers from 2004-07. Now, taking these players individually it doesn’t look that bad. Rollins ranks 7th out of 21 qualifying shortstops in baseball in OPS. Utley would rank third among qualifying second baseman. Howard has 46 RBIs in 61 games. That is 122 RBIs over a 162-game season, although his .715 OPS  would rank 16th out of 21 first basemen. But the Phillies are averaging just 4.11 runs per game since Howard rejoined the team July 6, which ranks 12th in the National League. Just because those three compare favorably with other players at their positions doesn’t mean this offense is in great shape. That’s because they don’t have a player to truly anchor the middle of the lineup, like Ryan Braun, Matt Kemp, Miguel Cabrera, Andrew McCutchen, etc. Carlos Ruiz has a .949 OPS this season, but it would be dangerous to expect him to replicate those numbers next season and beyond. Plus, he has never had more than 410 at-bats in a season. If Utley had enough plate appearances to qualify, he’d have the second-best OPS on the team behind Ruiz, but it would rank just 64th out of 202 big-league players. It’s tough to score consistently when the three highest paid hitters in the lineup aren’t hitting .260.
  • A leaky bullpen. Phillies relievers had a 5.25 ERA against the Astros, allowing 12 hits, 10 runs (seven earned runs), seven walks and one hit batter in 12 innings. The Phillies struck out 13 batters in those innings, showing they have good “stuff,” but they still don’t have the consistency they need to be relied upon.
  • Starters. Roy Halladay is 4-0 in his last six starts, but also has a 4.70 ERA. That’s just not the quality one expects from Halladay. Pitching coach Rich Dubee said weeks ago it would take Halladay a long time to lose the bad habits he picked up while pitching with a strained right back muscle earlier this season. But considering the mileage on Halladay’s arm and his age, it is not unfair to wonder what kind of pitcher the Phillies will be getting next season. I would never bet against Halladay, but it also is tough to just say, “He’ll absolutely be the old Doc next year.”

Chooch Is Back

Carlos Ruiz is back, but it remains to be seen how much he will play.

Ruiz had been on the disabled list since Aug. 3 with plantar fasciitis in his left foot before the Phillies activated him today. The Phillies plan to ease back Ruiz slowly, using him as a pinch-hitter this weekend before working him in as a defensive replacement. He could start once or twice a week once he gets comfortable.

“We definitely want to be careful with him,” Charlie Manuel said. “What he’s got is something that if he’s on his feet for a long time, if he’s moving a lot, he gets real tight.”

But the Phillies said there is little risk playing Ruiz the remainder of the season.

“If it was going to hurt him, we wouldn’t do it,” Manuel said. “But they feel like it’s not going to hurt him.”

Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock concurred.

“I think we’re very comfortable with the fact that I don’t think he’s going to do any further damage,” he said. “But he hasn’t played so I think it’s just something that we’re going to … hopefully he can come out and contribute a little bit and get back in a rhythm and be ready to go for next year. I think it’s important that he gets back out on the field.”

And why is that?

“I think for him, and I think he still has a chance to help us,” Proefrock said. “As long of a shot as it is, we’re not out of this. He can contribute. He’s an important part of our offense.”

Said Ruiz: “I know everybody was concerned that maybe I was done for the year, but I was thinking that I would try really hard to come back because I want to finish. Now I’m happy that I got activated. I’m ready to go. I want to finish the season. I want to go home happy. I told myself I have to finish playing and then relax and be ready for next year. I was really sad in last six weeks. Now I have the chance to get back in the lineup.”

Could Chooch Sit Rest of Season?

For the first four months of the season, Carlos Ruiz played as the undisputed MVP of the Phillies.

But then Ruiz suffered an injury to his left foot in July. He has been on the disabled list since Aug. 3. Ruiz has been running every other day to test the foot, but Ruben Amaro Jr. and Ruiz spoke yesterday about the possibility he finish the season on the disabled list rather than return and possibly reinjure himself.

“Definitely, if I want to come back, I want to make sure I’m 100 percent,” Ruiz said before today’s game against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. “I don’t want to come back and the injury happens again. I don’t try to push it too much. Just taking it nice and easy with my running. If I feel something, stop. But so far I feel real good. It’ll be a little hard. It’s not completely gone. I still feel just a little bit.”

But Ruiz said he understands Amaro’s thinking on this.

“I got his point,” he said. “At the same time, I feel like I have to try. I have to try until the last day. It’s not like I’m going to give up. But yeah, I got his point. We’ll see. He said there is no pressure to come back. Try to be 100 percent and that’s what we’re doing right now.”

Ruiz to DL, Expected to Miss 4-6 Weeks

Just another blow for the Phillies in a season full of misfortune.

They announced Saturday morning Carlos Ruiz, who is the team’s MVP if the season ended today, has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with plantar fasciitis in his left foot.

A MRI revealed a partial tear in the foot. He is expected to miss four to six weeks.

The Phillies recalled Hector Luna to take Ruiz’s spot on the roster. Brian Schneider and Erik Kratz will handle the team’s catching duties into September.

Ruiz was having the best season of his career. He was hitting .335 with 28 doubles, 14 home runs, 58 RBIs, a .399 on-base percentage, a .559 slugging percentage and a .959 OPS. He already set career-highs in home runs and RBIs. He ranked fourth in the National League in batting average, sixth in on-base percentage, sixth in slugging percentage and sixth in OPS.

Unfortunately for Ruiz, he will not finish the season with enough plate appearances to qualify among the league leaders in those categories.

Ruiz will be reevaluated in two weeks. The foot has been bothering him for at least a couple weeks, but he thought he could manage it.

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