Phillies Notebook: Phillies' Ruiz apologizes for suspension

YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Carlos Ruiz is happy to be back at spring training.
YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Carlos Ruiz is happy to be back at spring training.
Posted: February 14, 2013

CLEARWATER, Fla. - Carlos Ruiz is as personable as anyone in a Phillies uniform and is very engaging in conversations, too. But he's most comfortable in one-on-one situations; that's when his popular personality shines through.

The scene Wednesday was less than ideal for Ruiz, regardless of the subject matter.

Under a warm Florida sun not long after noon, Ruiz tried to sit comfortably on top of a picnic table outside the Phillies clubhouse at Bright House Field. A half dozen television cameras were pointed in his direction as a swarm of media, over 20-people deep, surrounded the catcher.

Beads of sweat rolled off his forehead as he tried to be genial and cooperative in a 7-minute session that probably felt more like an hour to Ruiz.

"It's very difficult, having to explain," Ruiz said. "I love baseball, I love my city, Philadelphia, and Panama. I want to do my best and show everybody . . . I'll do my best."

After taking part in the first official workout of the spring, Ruiz talked for the first time about being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its performance-enhancing drug program.

Ruiz tested positive for Adderall, which is commonly used to combat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Although he can participate in all activities this spring, including Grapefruit League games, Ruiz will serve a 25-game suspension when the regular season begins on April 1.

"I want to apologize to my organization, the fans, my teammates, my whole family," Ruiz said. "I feel so bad for this. I'm trying to put everything behind me and do my best this year and bring a championship back to Philadelphia."

Ruiz apologized several times but never went into details about why he was taking Adderall.

With a prescription or exemption, the drug is legal: Both Cliff Lee and former Phillie Shane Victorino have taken Adderall. But Ruiz was tight-lipped when asked if he could so the same.

"That's something that's between my doctor and me," Ruiz said. "Major League Baseball has rules, and when you make a mistake, you're going to pay. So I'll pay my 25 games, and I apologize to my teammates, my organization, my family and fans, and I'm ready to put everything behind and get ready for the regular season."

Ruiz, who turned 34 last month, enjoyed the best season of his career in 2012. He made his first All-Star team and had career highs in hitting (.325), home runs (16), RBI (68) and OPS (.935).

But many are left to wonder whether he could have reached those numbers without Adderall, which is a stimulant not a steroid.

"I am working really hard," Ruiz said in response. "I trust myself to put up some good numbers. But at the same time, baseball is baseball. You have to work hard every day, and when you work hard, you get a lot of good things."

Erik Kratz, who played in 11 major league games in 10 professional seasons prior to last year, will be the Phillies' Opening Day catcher barring a roster addition or injury.

"Disappointed," Kratz said of his reaction to Ruiz' suspension. "Any time you lose a teammate for a period of time - injury, suspension, anything - that's disappointing because you want to have 25 of the best guys out there. He was an All-Star last year, had tremendous play on the field and his leadership in the clubhouse is huge. So like any teammate that you lose, it sucks."

Kratz on Doc

No hitter has stepped in to face Roy Halladay this spring - that will likely come next week - but there have been a few people with a pretty good vantage point in the two-time Cy Young Award winner's bullpen sessions: the catchers.

Erik Kratz caught Halladay's bullpen session on Monday. Although it wasn't an intense side session, Kratz liked what he saw from Halladay, who is attempting to rebound from an injury-ravaged 2012 season.

"I thought he looked good," Kratz said. "He looked healthy. He was able to let a few of them loose."

Like everyone else in camp, Kratz is eager to see how Halladay progresses in the next 2 months.

"Any time a guy comes off an injury, you wait to see how he is when he's facing hitters, in a competitive situation," Kratz said. "The first week of spring training might not be that competitive. But when you start to get closer and the juices start to get flowing, obviously you're kicking it in to another gear without even trying."

Cruz out

Juan Cruz won't be reporting to Phillies camp.

"We mutually parted ways, so to speak," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said.

The 34-year-old reliever had agreed to join the Phillies on a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training last month. But his affinity for Philadelphia apparently changed after the Phils came to an agreement on a major league deal with Chad Durbin later in the month, according to Amaro.

"After discussing [things] with his agent . . . we decided to kind of part ways," Amaro said. "He won't be in camp and he'll be able to sign wherever he wants to for maybe a better opportunity."

Every other pitcher and catcher reported to camp in time and participated in Wednesday's workout. The Phillies have 59 players in camp: 30 pitchers, six catchers, 12 infielders and 11 outfielders.

Quotable

Roy Halladay, on constantly having to alter your approach to stay ahead of the curve as a professional athlete:

"You have to continue to change and anything that I feel I can do different to keep them off balance, I'm going to do it. I know Chase [Utley] suggested drilling a few guys this year, so I might mix that in."


On Twitter: @ryanlawrence21

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