If only Darin Ruf could catch fire for 'Pigs

They say "timing is everything" and Darin Ruf is finding that out. If only the young Phillies prospect were hitting right now, this could be the time for him to join the Phillies.

There were some who believed Darin Ruf should have made the Phillies out of spring training even though his spring numbers weren't impressive. The Phillies though stuck to their plan and without some big spring numbers to bolster a decision to keep Ruf with the team, they optioned him out to Lehigh Valley.

Everybody expected Ruf to simply start hitting home runs right from the first pitch of the season up until the last pitch of the season. That expectation though turned into a long wait and Ruf didn't hit his first home run of the season until April 17th, the same date that he hit his first home run of 2012. At that point, Ruf was hitting .277 and it seemed inevitable that he would be heading for Philadelphia sooner rather than later.

Still, no call.

Now, flash forward to today and the Phillies find right fielder Delmon Young not exactly setting the world on fire. Young, 27, hit his fifth home run of the season against Miami Tuesday night, but he's hitting just .220 on the season and has struck out 26 times in his first 100 at-bats.

It gets interesting when you consider that if Young stays on the Phillies roster until Sunday, he will earn the first of his roster bonuses and pick up an additional $100,000 from the Phillies.

If there were another option - say, Darin Ruf - the Phillies could well consider cutting Young loose and bringing Ruf to Philadelphia. Unfortunately, Ruf isn't taking advantage of the situation and is hitting .260 with five home runs. Not bad numbers, but nothing like his ten home runs and .337 average of a year ago. Ruf is currently in a stretch of 88 at-bats without a home run. The longest homerless stretch in his career has been 123 at-bats without going deep.

The good news is that defensively, Ruf is fitting in well in left field. There are still some holes, but the Phillies wouldn't need to worry about his defensive play if they were to bring him up to the majors.

For now, it looks like the Phillies will stick with Young in right field and hope that he can catch fire. The good news is that Young has hit in eight of his last nine games, hitting .267 (8-for-30) over that stretch, with two home runs and four RBI.

The Phillies don't have much other choice than to sign that $100,000 check and keep their fingers crossed that either Young or Ruf are pounding the ball when Young's next $100,000 contract bonus comes due on July 19.



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