Ruiz' suspension is not expected to impact the catcher's future with the Phillies. There have been no discussions between the sides about an extension of the catcher's contract, which expires at the end of 2013. Phillies infielder Kevin Frandsen served a suspension for testing positive for an ADHD drug in 2011. Last year, he and Ruiz were two of the team's most consistent hitters. The Phillies recently re-signed Frandsen to a 1-year, $850,000 deal for 2013.
The suspension will certainly have an impact on the lineup for the first month of the season. The team already was concerned about the lack of righthanded power on the roster, which is a big reason why it has pursued free-agent centerfielder B.J. Upton.
Last year, Ruiz was a main source of that power, hitting .325 with 16 home runs, a .394 on-base percentage and .540 slugging percentage in 421 plate appearances. He served a stint as the team's cleanup hitter while Ryan Howard worked his way back from Achilles' surgery, and spent most of the year batting in the middle of the order.
"I am sincerely regretful for my mistake in taking a prohibited stimulant," Ruiz said in a statement that was released by the Major League Baseball Players Association. "I apologize to my teammates, the Phillies organization, and the Philadelphia fans. I will serve the imposed 25-game suspension to begin the season and I look forward to returning to the field and working toward bringing a championship back to Philadelphia in 2013."
Ruiz will be eligible to return on April 28 against the Mets in New York. Until then, the Phillies likely will rely on 32-year-old backup Erik Kratz, who hit .248 with an .809 OPS, nine home runs and nine doubles in 157 plate appearances in 2012.
"The Phillies fully support Major League Baseball's Drug Program," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said in a statement released by the team. "We are disappointed by the news of this violation of the program. We will support Carlos in an appropriate manner and move forward to achieve our goal to play championship-caliber baseball in 2013."
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