Randy Ruiz Turning Things Around For Himself

Randy Ruiz put together one of the most awesome displays of pure hitting and raw power that fans could ever hope to see. So, where was Ruiz at the start of the season? He was out of action, paying the price for mistakes that he made. Now, he's back and looking to show that he's the real deal.

The official story was that Randy Ruiz was rehabbing from a groin injury. It seemed plausable and was a perfect reason why he would be playing in extended spring training rather than starting the season with the AA Reading Phillies. Sometimes, the reasonable isn't always true though.

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.

Randy Ruiz' Career Stats

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
2004 Lakewood 17 91 .288 110 417 85 120 31 2 1 42 140
2005 Reading 5 12 .410 10 39 12 16 5 0 0 0 9
Totals 78 386 .300 529 1955 352 586 143 13 40 214 565

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.


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