Ryan Rests: Is Ruf Ready?

9 Jul

Baseball is a funny game.  

A what have you done for me lately game.  A game where there is no credit given to a slugger playing through pain to stay on the field and try to help his team.  Ryan Howard will now take a seat as the pain in his left knee has been diagnosed as a torn meniscus requiring surgery.

Enter Darin Ruf, the Phillie many expected to be on the roster when the team left Spring Training.  In fact, at 26, some think the Phillies have kept Ruf in the minors too long.  But Ruf is a first baseman and the Phillies already had a high-paid first baseman, until yesterday.

Baseball is a funny game.

Many said the same about Ryan Howard before he finally joined the Phillies big league club in 2005 also due to an injury to the Phillies start first baseman–Jim Thome.

I’m just hoping to contribute,” Howard said at the time. “Whether it’s two weeks, two months or two years.”  

Well. contribute he did and when Ryan Howard was named the NL Rookie of the Year for his performance during that 2005 season, it was one week before his 26th birthday.

Baseball is a funny game.

Howard was blocked at first base by Jim Thome.  In fact, there was talk of trying him in the outfield.  But there were also concerns back then about his ability to hit lefties.  Right.  But that didn’t stop Howard.  He went from Rookie of the Year to MVP to World Series Champion.  But this season there has been talk that the Big Piece with the big contract might have to be a platoon player because of his inability to hit lefties.

Baseball is a funny game.

So Darin Ruf will finally get his shot in this game of cycles.  Despite spending much of this season trying to get comfortable in the outfield he will now be playing his natural position, first base.  One of the questions Ruf has battled that has slowed his progress:  Can he hit righties?

Baseball is a funny game.

Yes the similarities are striking.  Now another aging Phillies slugger will sit while an aging rookie will get his shot.  It’s not likely that Ruf will repeat Howard’s early career accomplishments.  He’s just hoping to contribute.

But baseball is a funny game.

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One Response to “Ryan Rests: Is Ruf Ready?”

  1. Michael Gillen July 9, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

    Good one, Susan, and nice alliteration in the title!

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