Ruf hits two homers in Phillies loss

Posted: October 03, 2012

WASHINGTON - The card that bench coach Pete Mackanin taped to a wall in the Phillies clubhouse Tuesday displayed a lineup with a mere $22.5 million worth of baseball players. And that's including Chase Utley, who accounted for $15 million by himself.

It was manager Charlie Manuel's 130th different lineup in 161 games. Darin Ruf, starting his eighth consecutive game, batted higher than ever before in the five-hole.

All he did was bash two home runs one day after winning a game with a two-run triple as the Phillies lost, 4-2, to Washington at Nationals Park.

"I'm just trying to put myself in a spot where I can compete in spring training for, if not a starting job, just a spot on the team," Ruf said.

Ruf, the minor-league home-run king, has been impressive. Manuel, who salivates at the thought of an undiscovered power threat, often has complimented Ruf's quick, compact swing.

He has hit safely in all eight of his starts, six of which have come in left field. Given a small sample size, Manuel predicted Ruf is "adequate" defensively and compared his fielding profile to that of Raul Ibanez.

Of course, if he continues to hit as well as he has in this brief tryout, the Phillies can live with erratic glove work.

"He's hit everywhere he's been," Manuel said. "I like what I see out of him as far as the ball jumping out of his bat; he's got power. He's got power to all fields, he don't mind hitting the ball to the right side of the diamond. I like him."

Tyler Clippard, who has saved 32 games this season, threw Ruf a 92-m.p.h. fastball low and inside in the eighth. Ruf smacked it into the Phillies bullpen in left field. That was his 42d homer of 2012.

It's the kind of swing that will earn him more looks in the spring.

"This is a dog-eat-dog game," Manuel said. "A lot of guys don't understand that anymore. . . . Me, they can come in and take a job in a New York minute."

Rollins is done

A sore right calf will prevent Jimmy Rollins from seeing the field again in 2012. Rollins missed his second straight game Tuesday, and Manuel did not anticipate playing his shortstop in Wednesday's season finale.

Rollins will finish with the most home runs (23) he has hit since 2007 and his highest OPS (.743) since 2008. His on-base percentage (.316) was its lowest since 2009 despite a career-high 62 walks.

Front-office move

The Phillies hired Bart Braun as a special assistant to the general manager. Braun, a longtime employee of the Tampa Bay Rays, will have a multitude of responsibilities, mostly as a top scout. Amaro said he did not expect any further changes to the front office.

"This was one that was an important one," Amaro said. "He'll have a positive impact on our club."

The Phillies intend to retain their entire professional scouting staff, which is led by director Mike Ondo. Amaro praised the scouts for their work in identifying targets for four midseason trades.

"He's as thorough and as good as there is," Amaro said of Ondo. "I think we did a fantastic job - really, it was Mike and his people who did it - at the trade deadline."

Extra bases

B.J. Rosenberg was the 10th Phillies pitcher to start a game in the last two seasons, which is tied for fewest in the majors. He allowed one run in four innings, which snapped a 13-inning scoreless streak. . . . Josh Lindblom allowed his 13th home run in relief. Only Livan Hernandez and Joaquin Benoit have surrendered more as relievers.


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

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