Phillies Notes: Phillies' Darin Ruf off to a slow start this spring

Outfielder Darin Ruf is just 0 for 9 this spring, and has had few at-bats since developing arm soreness. YONG KIM / Staff
Outfielder Darin Ruf is just 0 for 9 this spring, and has had few at-bats since developing arm soreness. YONG KIM / Staff
Posted: March 01, 2013

FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Phillies want Darin Ruf to accumulate as many at-bats as possible this spring. So when Ruff did not play on Tuesday and only pinch-hit in the eighth inning on Wednesday, it raised a red flag.

As it turns out, Ruf had been dealing with some arm soreness as a result of his position switch from first base to left field. The strain from a bevy of throwing drills caused it.

"My arm just wasn't used to that yet," Ruf said. "It was a little sore in the bicep area. It's normal. It was feeling great today."

Manager Charlie Manuel said Ruf is "fine." Ruf, who said he expects to play Thursday, is 0 for 9 to start the spring.

Ruf hit a franchise-record 38 home runs last season for double-A Reading and is out to win the starting job in left field. He impressed former Phillies star Mike Schmidt recently with his composure and baseball maturity. He had two doubles in an intrasquad game on Friday.

"He needs to get a hit, and he'll be all right," Manuel said. "He's trying a little too hard."

In a 12-5 loss to the Twins on Wednesday, Phils rightfielder Domonic Brown reached base four times on a double, two walks, and an error. Centerfielder Ben Revere was 2 for 4 with a stolen base and two runs.

Chase Utley did not make the long trip, as planned. He was back in Clearwater taking batting practice with those who stayed behind. He will play Thursday, Manuel said.

Lannan looks good

Only eight starting pitchers have induced ground balls at a higher rate than John Lannan since 2008. Lannan is not an overpowering pitcher. Rarely will he miss bats. So he relies on keeping the ball down in the zone and then on the ground.

Four of his six outs Wednesday against the Twins were on the ground, which was a good sign. Lannan allowed one run in two innings during his Grapefruit League debut. A few Twins made solid contact.

"Yeah," Lannan said, "so I'm relatively happy."

Lannan has begun picking the brains of his new staff mates. He quizzed catcher Carlos Ruiz on how he'd call a game. It's all part of the adjustment to a new team.

Lannan lives in Tampa, Fla., so he threw a few bullpen sessions for pitching coach Rich Dubee at the team's facility before spring training started.

"First bullpen, he was kind of quiet," Lannan said of Dubee. "So that sort of screwed me [up] a little bit. After that, I realized he probably didn't want to say too much. Now he's getting into the role of telling me what he thinks. It's great."

Lannan said he is not tinkering with anything major this spring. He is guaranteed $2.5 million and should fill the fifth spot in the rotation barring a huge surprise.

Extra Bases

Ryan Howard has started in all five games and will play again on Thursday. . . . Phillies Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning was in attendance for Wednesday's game.

Contact Matt Gelb at Follow on Twitter @magelb.

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