Ruiz, who is hitless in his last 28 plate appearances (24 at-bats) said he has felt a similar pain before, but never as severe as yesterday.
Backup catcher Brian Schneider replaced Ruiz behind the plate in the bottom of the first inning and played the rest of the game, catching a strong effort from Cole Hamels in which the lefthander held the Diamondbacks to three runs on four hits in seven innings of an 8-4 Phillies win.
"I didn't even notice," Hamels said. "We have a plan, and no matter who is going to call the game, you just stick with the plan, and I think that is what I was able to do. It's not like it's Schneider's first game catching me. I think that would be a little hairy at times. But we know each other, we trust each other. It's just go out, stick to a plan and try to execute."
If Ruiz misses time, the Phillies likely would call up Erik Kratz or Dane Sardinha from Triple A Lehigh Valley, where the two veterans have split time this season. Kratz, who entered the day 8-for-24 with three home runs, has been swinging the hotter bat, but Sardinha played well in a brief stint with the Phillies last summer. Kratz, a 30-year-old Telford native, played in nine games for the Pirates last season.
Oswalt returns home
Late last April, Roy Oswalt rushed back to his hometown of Weir, Miss., after his boyhood home was leveled by a tornado. Neither of his parents was harmed, but the storm system caused seven deaths and widespread damage throughout the area.
One year later, severe weather again has sent Oswalt hurrying back to his home state, as the veteran righthander left the Phillies to check on his family and property in the wake of a deadly storm system that has roared through Mississippi the past couple of days.
The Phillies are hopeful Oswalt will make his next start, but with off days today and Monday, they have some flexibility with the rotation.
"There has been a tremendous amount of tornado activity near Roy's home in Mississippi resulting in several tragic deaths and significant devastation to the area," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said in a statement. "Because of this, Roy is concerned about his family's well-being. He has chosen to take time to make sure there wasn't significant damage to his home, but more importantly, to make certain that his wife and children are OK.
"It is almost a year to the day that his parents' home was destroyed by a tornado, which has heightened his concern about the current situation. We are hopeful that he will rejoin the team for his next start, but will take that day by day."
Oswalt left Chase Field in Phoenix shortly after a subpar start Tuesday, in which he allowed five runs in three innings of a 7-5 loss to the Diamondbacks. Amaro said yesterday the back spasms that plagued Oswalt two starts ago were not a factor in this performance.
"He just didn't have his good stuff," Amaro said. "Unfortunately, that happens sometimes."
The Phillies are off today before opening a three-game series against the Mets at Citizens Bank Park tomorrow. Joe Blanton will start, followed by Roy Halladay on Saturday and Cliff Lee on Sunday night . . . Closer Brad Lidge (rotator cuff) is scheduled to see team doctor Michael Ciccotti, after which he hopes to begin a throwing program. The Phillies are not counting on Lidge to be back before the All-Star break, although that could change.