Originally written on Philly Sports World  |  Last updated 10/4/12
Darin Ruf was almost a forgotten man. At 26, it appeared as though his shot at the Major Leagues was dissipating. Then 2012 happened. Could Ruf be the Phillies left fielder next year?
The Phillies loss two nights ago to the playoff bound Washington Nationals had two highlights, and both were off the bat of Darin Ruf, bringing his major league home run total to three. The night before that, he provided the two RBIs that won the game. Yesterday, the Phillies ended their season with another loss to Washington and sure enough, it was Darin Ruf who provided the only RBI of the game. I am sure I am not alone in saying, I can’t wait for next spring.
Ruf, in his 12 major league games has shown in his brief stint he is ready and able to produce big hits for the Phillies.
Much is expected to happen in the off-season for the Phillies, but left field is locked up in my mind. If you are listening to Manuel and Amaro, they just might think so as well, statements of “I like him and he has power to all fields,” good words for Ruf. Assessing the obvious in Ruf’s ability to hit in the majors Manuel has also addressed the unknown, his fielding. Manuel has compared his left-field skills to Raul Ibanez, calling Ruf “adequate”, enough to give him the starting job. Amaro has said you “can’t rule him out, he is a pretty good hitter.” Not great endorsements, but certainly not negative ones.
The off-season will have Ruf playing winter ball in Venezuela to sharpen his left-field skills. Barring a complete disaster in winter ball, Ruf will open spring training as the opening day left-fielder. Not only will it give Ryan Howard protection with Ruf in the five-hole, it will free up money for the other needs of the team. Amazing, twelve games is all it takes to know that Ruf is the man.
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