Late last season, Ruiz failed a drug test and was forced to the restricted list under MLB policies. That was the reason that he wasn't on the Reading roster to open the season. Don't assume the worst though. Was it steroids? While nobody is saying for sure, the signals are that it wasn't steroids. So what was it? There is no reason speculating and the Phillies don't seem too concerned about the issue. They stand solidly behind Ruiz and haven't soured at all on his potential or his position with the organization. The truth is that the substance could have been something as innocent as an over the counter substance.
Once Ruiz started his season, he quickly made up for lost time. In back-to-back games, he smashed a pair of homeruns in each game. Within four games, he had taken over the Reading team lead in homeruns and RBI. While he's cooled slightly, Ruiz is still hot, hitting .410 in ten games with five homeruns and 15 RBI. He has also scored 12 runs, putting him just one behind Jim Deschaine for the club lead. His arrival in Reading was good enough to earn him Eastern League Player of the Week honors. Many of his stats came in his performance against New Britain, when he went 6-for-8 with four homeruns, 11 RBI and six runs scored in back-to-back games.
Because of the culture of steroids and drug testing in baseball these days, Ruiz will have to do some work to put his past failed drug test behind him. The only thing that will do that is a clean record from this point on. Don't believe for a second that Ruiz has put up the numbers that he has because of steroids or any other performance enhancing chemicals. He is a young player with a lot of raw talent and pure power. He doesn't need to have his performance enhanced by anything. It will be interesting to see how Ruiz progresses as he works to put together a breakout season much like Ryan Howard did last year starting in Reading. That's not to say that Ruiz will reach the lofty numbers that Howard did or that he has the potential that Howard does, but he can be good. Very good. That's all fans need to remember about Randy Ruiz.
|Year / Team||HR||RBI||AVG||G||AB||R||H||2B||3B||SB||BB||KO|
|1999 GCL Reds||3||9||.284||33||102||12||29||8||0||5||12||33|
|1999 Clinton (A)||0||2||.625||2||8||3||5||2||0||0||1||0|
|2000 Billings (R)||10||55||.381||61||231||55||88||15||1||1||29||56|
|2001 Dayton (A)||20||92||.268||123||466||82||125||34||3||21||48||116|
|2002 Stockton (A)||3||17||.260||28||100||16||26||9||0||0||13||29|
|2002 Dayton (A)||8||49||.302||78||285||47||86||17||4||9||36||88|
|2003 Frederick (A)||1||8||.250||17||68||7||17||4||1||0||4||24|
|2003 DelMarVa (A)||11||51||.310||67||239||33||74||18||2||3||29||70|
Ruiz was in the Reds organization from 1999 through the 2002 season. He then spent 2003 in the Orioles organization and signed with the Phillies as a minor league free agent in May of 2004.