Carlos Ruiz: Why the Phillies' Catcher Deserves to Start the 2012 All Star Game

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Carlos Ruiz: Why the Phillies' Catcher Deserves to Start the 2012 All Star Game
Hunter Martin/Getty Images

When Carlos "Chooch" Ruiz first joined the Philadelphia Phillies in 2006, he was coming off of a season in Double-A Reading in which he posted a .385 batting average with five doubles and six home runs in 91 at-bats. As a result of these numbers, Ruiz received his major league call-up and started 27 games with the Phillies.

In 2007, he was awarded the starting catching job with the Phillies, among talk of concern regarding his ability to hit, catch and have his body hold up for the entire season. As insurance, the Phillies signed Rod Barajas in the 2006 offseason to back up their catching prospect. An injury to Barajas left an opening for the 33-year old-rookie Chris Coste to start, but instead Ruiz got the majority of the catching time. In the 115 games he played in, he hit .259 and recorded career highs in doubles (29) and RBI (54).

Playing great backstop from behind the plate, Ruiz showed his doubters and quickly dispelled the thoughts that he couldn't be a major league catcher. He instantly endeared himself to fans by a few clutch hits and key plays behind the plate, earning him the nickname of "Chooch."

After 2007, Ruiz never looked back. He earned the full-time catching job outright and has been as vital to this team as any other player in recent years. His defense and pitch calling have never been in question and his offense is continually improving. He has been this team's MVP time and time again, but has never gotten to start or even made the NL All-Star team. 2012, however, could and should be his year.

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