Carlos Ruiz made his long awaited debut of the 2013 season yesterday. Ruiz set out from Reading, Pennsylvania Saturday night on a 125 mile drive to New York City to rejoin his team; as they faced the New York Mets on Sunday. A long trip, but certainly worth it.
Ruiz returned to the lineup yesterday after serving a 25 game suspension for using a banned amphetamine substance. Ruiz’s suspension was announced on Nov. 27, 2012 following his second positive test. An initial positive for a stimulant does not trigger a suspension; only that the player must undergo an immediate follow-up testing. The Phils starting catcher apologized in a statement, saying he was “sincerely regretful for his mistake in taking a prohibited stimulant.” He apologized to teammates and fans again at the beginning of Spring Training.
The 34-year-old Ruiz had a career year in 2012, batting .325 with 16 home runs and 68 RBIs in 114 games. He missed a little more than a month with a foot injury. The Phillies opened up 11-14 this season without Ruiz, so the team was certainly glad to have one of their offensive leaders back in the lineup.
Ruiz batted in the number five spot in the lineup, going 1 for 4 with a double that helped the Phillies beat the Mets 5-1. With his usual catcher behind the plate, Phillies ace Cole Hamels got his first win of the season after five appearances. As stated by Hamels, “It’s huge to have him back. He’s been our leader, and it just makes our lineup feel more complete.”
Hamels was not the only one excited about the catchers return. Phillies manager Charlie Manual had this to say about Ruiz. ”Chooch is a big player in our lineup, I think I speak for everyone when I say we are excited to have him back.”
The Phillies next game will be this Tuesday, as the team travels to Cleveland to face the Indians. Ruiz is expected to start.
Image Credit: Philly.com