Phillies Notes: Carlos Ruiz to catch Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey in All-Star Game

Posted: July 10, 2012

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Carlos Ruiz had not yet attempted to catch an R.A. Dickey knuckleball, but the Phillies catcher already knew what he preferred.

"Man, he's tough," Ruiz said. "If you're catching, it's OK. But if you hit, that ball is moving so much."

Ruiz tossed with Dickey during batting practice Monday and will enter Tuesday's All-Star Game when Dickey does. That is National League manager Tony La Russa's plan to contain the knuckleball.

Dickey was a favorite to start the game. Instead, La Russa decided it would be best that Ruiz catch him.

"We joked back and forth," Dickey said. "I told him I brought the big mitt for him and he asked if I could catch him instead. He's got a sense of humor about it."

Ruiz will use a larger catcher's mitt with Dickey on the mound. The only experience he has with the pitch was in 2005 while at triple-A Scranton with a righty named Jared Fernandez.

"I don't think I'll have trouble," Ruiz said. "I can handle that."

Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer has previously caught Dickey and had a warning for Ruiz.

"It could be a little nerve-racking," Mauer said, "especially when guys get on base."

Hamels and Harper

Though Cole Hamels intentionally plunked 19-year-old Bryce Harper in May, he went out of his way to inform reporters a few weeks ago that he voted for him for the All-Star Game. The pitcher had more praise Monday for Harper, his teammate this week.

"From the first day I saw him play, he is a tremendous talent," Hamels said. "He is fun to watch. To see him on this sort of stage is pretty cool.

"It's not like whatever people make it seem. I really do respect him and the way he plays."

Extra bases

Roy Halladay is likely to make a rehab start Thursday for single-A Clearwater. That would put him on track to start in Los Angeles for the fifth game of the second half. . . . If Ruiz enters the game in the fifth inning, it's conceivable he could catch both Hamels and Jonathan Papelbon.


Contact Matt Gelb at mgelb@phillynews.com or follow on Twitter @magelb.

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