Phillies Notes: Ruiz draws praise as the No. 2 hitter

Carlos Ruiz singles in the fifth inning against the Cubs. He would score on Chase Utley's two-run homer, giving the Phils a 3-2 lead they never lost. DENNIS WIERZBICKI / USA Today Sports
Carlos Ruiz singles in the fifth inning against the Cubs. He would score on Chase Utley's two-run homer, giving the Phils a 3-2 lead they never lost. DENNIS WIERZBICKI / USA Today Sports
Posted: April 06, 2014

CHICAGO - Carlos Ruiz logged nine plate appearances in the last two games and reached base six times, a number that will stick in the back of Ryne Sandberg's mind. Ruiz's two-game stay as the Phillies' No. 2 hitter will end Saturday when Jimmy Rollins returns. But the catcher made an impression at the top of the lineup.

"Whatever spot he's in, I think he takes on that role," Sandberg said. "Maybe the fact he's batting second, it is a job to get on base and set the table for the other guys. He seems to have that knack. You bat him third, fourth or fifth and he has a different approach up there, driving the ball. He's very versatile."

A Phillies catcher has batted second in just 10 games since 1991. Ruiz did it once in 2008 and three times last season. Mike Lieberthal batted second for four games in 1996.

Ruiz appreciated Sandberg's praise, but said there is no conscious effort to change his approach depending on where he hits.

"I think I hit the same way," Ruiz said. "When I'm feeling great at home plate, I'm not afraid to work with two strikes. I do work the count a little bit, see more pitches."

This is true; Ruiz's .375 on-base percentage since 2010 is best on the Phillies.

Rollins returning

The original lineup posted Friday morning by Sandberg in the visitors' clubhouse at Wrigley Field included Rollins playing shortstop and batting second. An hour later, Rollins was removed from the lineup because of an "internal miscommunication."

Rollins arrived in Chicago sometime Friday night after spending three days away from the team for the birth of his second daughter. Sandberg said he will start Saturday.

The Phillies played Friday with 24 men for the second straight game. Jayson Nix started again at shortstop. The team never placed Rollins on the paternity leave list, which would have allowed them to fill the vacated roster spot with another player for up to 72 hours.

Sandberg said both the baby and Rollins' wife, Johari, were healthy.

"Everything is fine on that front," Sandberg said.

Extra bases

Freddy Galvis (MRSA infection) will see his first game action Saturday in extended spring training. He could be activated after a week's worth of at-bats. . . . Righthander David Buchanan pitched six scoreless innings Thursday in triple-A Lehigh Valley's season opener. He struck out five. Buchanan, 24, is likely to make one more minor-league start and step into the Phillies rotation on April 13 when the team needs a fifth starter.

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