Phillies Notes: Phillies hurting in the outfield

The Phillies' Darin Ruf. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)
The Phillies' Darin Ruf. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)
Posted: June 06, 2014

WASHINGTON - Darin Ruf required stitches and two X-rays Wednesday after sliding into a concrete wall at Coca Cola Park in Allentown on Tuesday. There were no broken bones in his left wrist or right knee, a fortunate development for the Phillies but a blow to the thinnest unit in the organization.

Phillies outfielders posted a .663 on-base-plus-slugging percentage before Wednesday. That ranked 25th in baseball. Ryne Sandberg again started Domonic Brown and Ben Revere, both of whom rank near the bottom in production among outfielders, because the manager has few viable alternatives.

And, if one of the outfielders goes down with an injury, there are no replacements in the minors. When asked who was next on the depth chart, Sandberg could not answer.

"Um," he said, "I don't know off hand."

The intention was for Ruf to spend 10 days at triple-A Lehigh Valley to accumulate at-bats. He chased a fly ball into foul territory and slid into the wall. The diagnosis was a sprained left wrist and bruised right knee. There is no timetable for his return.

"The timing wasn't ideal at all because, hopefully, Ruf was on his way [to] coming back after some at-bats down there," Sandberg said. "That's a tough break for everybody."

The IronPigs started Cameron Perkins, Leandro Castro, and Steve Susdorf in their outfield Wednesday. Perkins, 23, was promoted Tuesday to triple A. The former sixth-round pick batted .342 at double-A Reading with an Eastern League-leading 19 doubles. Castro and Susdorf were signed as minor-league free agents for organizational depth.

There are four minor-league outfielders on the Phillies' 40-man roster. None is close to the majors. Kelly Dugan and Zach Collier are injured. Dugan cannot stay healthy; Collier has not impressed with his bat. Tyson Gillies, 25, has a .585 OPS at Lehigh Valley. Aaron Altherr has hit even worse at Reading - a hitter's park - with a .541 OPS.

That lack of depth forced the Phillies to retain John Mayberry Jr. His bench mate, Tony Gwynn Jr., has two extra-base hits in 94 plate appearances.

Martin returns

Ethan Martin returned Tuesday because of a need, not because his shoulder has totally recovered from inflammation in the spring. The 24-year-old righthander has no pain, but his fastball velocity has yet to rebound.

"It's gotten better every outing," Martin said. "They said it is going to take a little bit of time."

Martin's average fastball velocity was 95 m.p.h. in his final relief appearance in September, according to PITCHf/x data. It averaged 93 m.p.h. during two scoreless innings Tuesday. Washington hitters swung and missed at three of Martin's 32 pitches.

"Looks to me like there is still a little bit of buildup with some reps and innings," Sandberg said. "I see that increasing."

Extra bases

Cliff Lee (elbow) was not cleared to throw a baseball. He has not done that since May 19. . . . Lefthander Jeremy Horst cleared waivers and accepted an assignment to triple-A Lehigh Valley. He was designated for assignment last week.


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