HOUSTON — Nearly a week has passed and the Phillies have yet to turn Double-A outfield prospect Darin Ruf loose on Major League hitting.
The fans on Twitter have been growing a bit restless at this notion, and deservedly so. But they also have to remember that Ruf, despite being 26, has never faced hitting above the Double-A level, and that is a huge jump.
The main reason Charlie Manuel wanted Ruf in Philadelphia the first place was to see what Ruf can do first-hand, and work with the slugger’s hitting mechanics to prepare him for a season in Triple-A Lehigh Valley next season.
With Reading, Ruf tore it up, setting records in home runs and RBIs with 38 and 104 respectively, all while hitting 317 with a 1.028 OPS.
With the Phillies in Houston for another three games and facing some mediocre pitching, Ruf could finally see his first action. Another factor is the fact Houston is barely seating 2,000 people at their games, small for even a Minor League atmosphere and that could be beneficial for the pressure Ruf is already facing with his high expectations.
FULL STRENGTH — The Phillies lineup, though lacking a debut by Ruf, will be at full strength tonight.
Both Carlos Ruiz and Kevin Frandsen are in the lineup tonight while battling lower body injuries. The lineup tonight will resemble manager Charlie Manuel’s ideal lineup as the last 18 games of the season lie ahead.
Tonight’s lineup at HOU (Edgar Gonzalez: 2-0, 1.74)