Phillies Notebook: Ruiz makes most of batting in No. 2 spot

Posted: April 07, 2014

CHICAGO - Jimmy Rollins was in the lineup when it was posted in the visiting clubhouse at Wrigley Field yesterday morning.

But the first draft turned out to be the result of some internal miscommunication, manager Ryne Sandberg said. Rollins, who flew back to Philadelphia on Wednesday for the birth of his second daughter, was scheduled to arrive in Chicago later yesterday and in time for this weekend's games.

For the second straight game, Carlos Ruiz was summoned to hit in Rollins' place in the second spot, and the catcher was more than capable of the job.

Ruiz, 1-for-2 with two walks, reached base in each of his first four plate appearances in a 7-2 win over the Chicago Cubs.

Ruiz is hitting .308 (4-for-13) with a .526 OBP after the first four games. His five walks are more than double the next closest player on the Phillies roster.

"He's a situational hitter in my opinion," Sandberg said. "Whatever spot he's in, I think he takes on that role. 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."

Ruiz is 3-for-6 with a double, three walks, three runs scored a a hit by pitch in back-to-back games in the second spot. He hit a one-out single in the fifth inning yesterday, one batter before Chase Utley ripped a go-ahead home run.

Sandberg said he'd "possibly" consider using Ruiz in the second spot more often.

Ruiz entered yesterday with a .375 OBP since the beginning of 2014. He's also seen an average of 3.86 pitches per plate appearance from 2010-13.

"I think I hit the same way," Ruiz said of his position in the lineup. "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. And then right there, you just want to give a chance to the guys behind you to [see the pitcher].

"And also, I think when you're hitting higher up, you want to give the guy a chance to steal second and then you get a guy into scoring position. I don't think I change my approach. But you have to have a plan every time you go to home plate. Sometimes, you're going to swing at bad pitches, but when you feel good, you can look for a specific pitch to hit. And if he doesn't give it to you, as Ryno says, take your base and give [the bat] to the next guy. That's big."

Utley on a tear

After scuffling this spring, hitting .217 with three extra-base hits in 21 games, Chase Utley is hitting .389 with a team-high 11 total bases through four games.

Utley drove in three of the Phillies' first four runs, two on his go-ahead home run in the fifth. Afterward, manager Ryne Sandberg said the second baseman was a "carbon copy" of himself in his attitude and approach to the game.

"I like the way he plays," Sandberg said. "He rubs off on everybody else.


Ryne Sandberg was among four Cubs Hall of Famers to throw out a ceremonial first pitch before the historic 100th opener in Wrigley Field history. Ernie Banks, Ferguson Jenkins and Billy Williams joined Sandberg on the mound. While his fellow former Cubs wore Cubs hats, Sandberg was in full Phillies uniform. "Slightly awkward out there," said Sandberg, who was greeted with warm applause in his second trip to Chicago as Phillies manager during pregame introductions . . .

Freddy Galvis returns to the field for the first time since March 16 when he takes the field today in an extended spring training game in Clearwater, Fla. Galvis was diagnosed with a MRSA infection on March 21. Galvis, who began doing baseball activities on Monday, could rejoin the Phillies at some point during that 10-game homestand, which begins Monday . . .

Cole Hamels will begin his official rehab assignment tomorrow when the Class A Clearwater Threshers host Dunedin at 1 p.m. Hamels could rejoin the Phillies before the end of the month . . . Righthander Mike Adams pitched a scoreless inning in his first appearance of his official rehab assignment Thursday night for Clearwater. Adams, who is eyeing a return in mid-April, allowed one hit and struck out two.

On Twitter: @ryanlawrence21


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