Carlos Ruiz: 4 Reasons the Philadelphia Phillies Should Not Rush Ruiz Back
That chant hasn't been heard at any park around the big leagues since August 2nd—that was Carlos Ruiz's last game before being placed on the Disabled List with a left foot injury.
In the meantime, Erik Kratz and Brian Schneider have been sharing catching duties for a Phillies team that is showing signs of improvement but is still a miracle away from making an actual playoff run, and now 27-year-old Steven Lerud has been called up for the Phillies to replace Schneider.
Sporting News reported that Ruiz expects to return to the Phillies by early September, but unless the Phillies really believe that they can get one of the two Wild Card spots, should they really even bring Chooch back this season?
Here are four reasons why the Phillies should be patient with their All-Star catcher.
Don't Risk Re-Injury
There are so many ways for baseball players to get injured, but perhaps no position is more likely to get injured than a catcher.
Until Bud Selig steps in and makes a rule change, baserunners will be able to run into the catcher at home plate.
And, as Buster Posey showed last year, all it takes is one bad collision to end your season.
If the Phillies bring back Carlos Ruiz too soon, he could re-aggravate his foot injury, and it could potentially cost him the start of next season.
Also, the pressure that a catcher puts on his feet while crouched behind home plate is a lot for someone who just missed a month of action because of a foot injury.
Plus, with Ruiz hitting .335 this year, it would be expected that he'd come back and start getting hits, which obviously means he'd have to run. Running the bases is another way that Ruiz could easily re-aggravate his injury.
Erik Kratz Can Play
Apparently, this Erik Kratz character can play ball.
Many Phillies fans looked up Kratz after discovering that he could hit hoping to find that he was some young stud that could be the team's future catcher.
Unfortunately, Kratz is 32, but for the present, he's getting the job done.
Since Ruiz went on the DL, Kratz is hitting .268 and has four home runs and 11 RBI in 17 games. He's also come up with some timely, clutch hits, including his three-run home run to tie the game in the eighth inning of the Phillies' August 12th game against the Cardinals—a game that they eventually won in the 11th inning.
Kratz isn't the future catcher for the Phillies, and Ruiz doesn't need to worry about his job security, but for the time being Kratz has been a valuable player, and there is no need to return Ruiz prematurely as long as the Phillies continue to get value out of Kratz.
Make Sure He's Fully Healthy for Next Season
2013 is the final season that Ruiz is under contract with the Phillies, which means he'll be looking to make some big bucks in the offseason.
Because of this, Ruiz wants to be fully healthy going into next season.
As mentioned before, there is always the possibility of Ruiz re-aggravating his foot injury if he comes back too soon. So, if the team keeps him out of the rest of the season, he'll be 100 percent heading into his contract year.
Not only is this beneficial for Ruiz, but a healthy Ruiz could serve as trade bait for the Phillies next year.
Look at Shane Victorino. He was entering free agency and the Phillies dealt him to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Now that the team got catching prospect Tommy Joseph from the Giants in the Hunter Pence deal, the Phillies have a catcher for their future, so what are the chances that they want to re-sign a 34-year-old catcher after next season?
This Year Is All but over
What's the point of rushing Ruiz back if there is nothing to play for?
Unless there is still a chance. Wishful thinking, I know.
The Phillies are 10 games back in the wild-card race, so it would take a miracle for this team to make a playoff push, especially with the amount of talented teams ahead of them.
At this point, it would be wisest for the Phillies to start playing some prospects and see what the future of Phillies baseball will look like.
Bringing back Carlos Ruiz wouldn't make a difference in this season, so the Phillies should not bring him back too soon, maybe not for the rest of the year.
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