Assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. spent the last few days watching Ruf and Reading in a first-round Eastern League playoff series with the Trenton Thunder. Game 4 of that series, which was scheduled for Saturday night in Trenton, was rained out.
Manuel sounded like a man who would love to watch Ruf play during the final weeks of this 2012 season even though the outfielder/first baseman has not played above double A.
"He's got some credentials already," Manuel said. "I don't care where you are, 37 [actually 38] home runs is a lot. That catches your attention. When you see that, you get excited about that. I saw [Ryan] Howard in the minor leagues and . . . I used to tell him how good he could be. I saw that."
Manuel has not seen Ruf in person, but he has watched him on television.
"I like seeing his swing on television because he has a very controlled, short compact swing," Manuel said. "Powerful swing. The way the ball came off his bat, he had a good load and a good hitting position. From a mechanics standpoint, I liked what I saw from him."
After hitting .317 with 71 extra-base hits for Reading and earning Eastern League player-of-the-year honors, Ruf was 2 for 9 with three walks in three playoff games. Reading trails in the best-of-five series, 2-1.
The most successful big-league stint of Kevin Frandsen's career has hit a snag.
Frandsen, hitting .336 in 34 games since joining the Phillies in late July, was not scheduled to start Saturday night for the third straight game. The Phillies said an MRI examination revealed that the third baseman has a stress fracture in his left fibula.
"He's had three days off and we'll probably give him the rest of this series off unless we need him," Proefrock said. "It's about his [pain] tolerance right now."
Proefrock indicated that Frandsen was still available in a pinch-hitting role, but Manuel seemed more concerned.
"He's out, he's hurt," Manuel said. "We'll know more about it in two or three days, but, yeah, he's hurt right now."
Asked if it was serious, Manuel said, "Yeah, it can be. I think he's resting it for a few days and the doctors will look at him and tell me more about him."
Michael Martinez made his third straight start in place of Frandsen at third base.
Depending on the severity of Frandsen's injury, the Phillies could make an interesting move by calling up third baseman Cody Asche, who followed up his strong regular-season finish by going 4 for 10 in his first three playoff games with Reading. Asche batted a combined .324 with 33 doubles, six triples, 12 home runs, and 72 RBIs at Reading and single-A Clearwater this season.
Proefrock also said that reliever Raul Valdes will have surgery Monday to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. Valdes will be placed on the disabled list and the surgery will end his season. Based on his 3-2 record and 2.90 ERA in 27 appearances at the big-league level this season, Valdes, 34, should show up at spring training in Clearwater with a legitimate chance to make the opening-day roster.
Contact Bob Brookover at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @brookob.