It should have been just as obvious that the all-star catcher's absence would have a significant impact on the team because of how much he means to the pitching staff and the offense.
"He hurt us by not being with us," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Friday night in Reading. "But the other guys should be pulling their weight and doing things that we haven't been doing. He's not going to be a savior for us. I don't expect him to be. He's just a good piece of the puzzle to have back on the club."
Over the last two seasons, the Phillies have rarely had Ruiz, Utley and Howard on the field at the same time. A year ago, that trio started only 23 games together, because shortly after Utley and Howard returned, Ruiz was sidelined with a foot injury.
From 2011 through Saturday, Ruiz, Utley and Howard have been together in the starting lineup just 93 times out of a possible 349 games. The Phillies have a .602 winning percentage (56-37) with that trio together and a .539 winning percentage (138-118) when they are not together.
In many ways, Ruiz's return is even more fascinating than the ones by Utley and Howard. There was a lot of speculation that Utley's knees would bring a premature end to his career, but he is off to a strong start after taking a different approach to the offseason.
Howard has become the star position player of most concern because he clearly is not moving as well as he did before his torn Achilles injury.
Ruiz, 34, and a potential free agent after this season, has opened himself to speculation about whether he can perform just as well without Adderall as he did while using it. It should be noted that he wasn't just good last year. Over his last three seasons, he has hit .303 with 83 doubles, 30 home runs, 161 RBIs and an .842 OPS. That, of course, is in addition to being a trusted catcher to a star-studded pitching staff.
How often he used Adderall during that span is unknown. Ruiz insisted that the Adderall, or lack of it, will make no difference.
"It was nothing that the medication did for me," he said. "I'm ready, and you're going to see what happens."
Amaro feels the same way.
"I don't think [Adderall] really affected him," Amaro said. "It's a stimulant. I guess a stimulant can affect the game one way or another, but I think it's for energy more than anything else. I don't think it's going to affect the way he plays. I really don't. I hope it doesn't."
That remains to be seen and it would be vehemently argued by some in the medical field who describe Adderall as steroids for the mind.
"It masks fatigue, masks pain, increases arousal - like being in the zone," Gary Wadler told the Seattle Times last year. "It increases alertness, aggressiveness, attention and concentration. It improves reaction time, especially when fatigued. Some think it enhances hand-eye coordination. Some believe it increases the mental aspects of performance."
Wadler is an associate professor of medicine at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine and a past chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency's Prohibited List Committee.
Because he will be a free agent and because the Phillies need someone to stimulate their lackluster offense, Ruiz's return this season is even more important than the ones made by Utley and Howard a year ago. At least this season there is still time for this team to recover.
"I'm not going to put too much pressure on myself," Ruiz said. "I just have to relax and have fun and try to do my best. I know those guys are working real hard and at some point we're going to put everything together and we're going to have success."
Contact Bob Brookover at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @brookob on Twitter.