Ruiz still doesn't get proper recognition

While catching may be one of the most important positions on a team, Carlos Ruiz just doesn't get credit for what he brings to the Phillies.

On a roster dotted with superstars, Carlos Ruiz goes unnoticed in the national eye. But he's a key member of the Philadelphia Phillies, and his teammates and coaching staff appreciate him.

Ruiz went 2-for-3 in the Phillies' 4-1 win against the Baltimore Orioles on March 20, and he raised his batting average to .450 this spring.

More importantly, Ruiz is a rock behind the plate. He's one of the top defensive catchers in the majors and has an excellent rapport with Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels.

The 70-mile bus trip to Sarasota is one veterans would rather avoid during the spring, but Ruiz came along so he could catch Halladay.

As the injury-plagued Phillies prepare to try to win their sixth straight National League East title, Ruiz has been a constant while others around him keep going down with injuries. Infielder Michael Martinez was the latest to get hurt. He broke a bone in his right foot when he was hit by a pitch against the Orioles.

"He calls a great game, blocks, throws guys out, does everything you want a catcher to do," Halladay said of Ruiz. "And then he hits when we need it. There's no reason he shouldn't be in consideration for a Gold Glove every year."

Signed as a second baseman out of Panama, Ruiz made the transition to catcher rather smoothly. He isn't afraid to take charge and make the calls he wants with a staff of aces throwing to him.

"You want to be good to catch those guys because that's my job to make them feel happy," Ruiz said. "It's a lot of work. It's not easy, but it's not hard. You have to put everything into it."

Halladay threw six solid innings against the Orioles, allowing one run and three hits. He had five strikeouts in what was by far his best outing this spring. The two-time Cy Young Award winner gave up five runs and seven hits in 2 2/3 innings in his last start against Minnesota last week. Halladay lowered his Grapefruit League ERA to 6.59.

"When Doc (Halladay) first came here, I didn't know what he liked to do," Ruiz said. "It took a couple games in spring training to get used to him. I figured out right away that because he has great stuff, you can do a lot of different things, mix it up a lot because he has control. It makes it a little easy, but you have to think, where is he at, because it's not whatever I put down, he wants to use it."

Carlos Ruiz' career stats
2006 Philadelphia 27 69 5 18 1 1 3 10 5 8 .261 .316 .435
2007 Philadelphia 115 374 42 97 29 2 6 54 42 49 .259 .340 .396
2008 Philadelphia 117 320 47 70 14 0 4 31 44 38 .219 .320 .300
2009 Philadelphia 107 322 32 82 26 1 9 43 47 39 .255 .355 .425
2010 Philadelphia 121 371 43 112 28 1 8 53 55 54 .302 .400 .447
2011 Philadelphia 132 410 49 116 23 0 6 40 48 48 .283 .371 .383
Career stats 619 1866 218 495 121 5 36 231 241 236 .265 .357 .393
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 3/22/2012.

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