The struggles of Philadelphia Phillies prospect Darin Ruf this spring training makes the return of Delmon Young essential to the Phillies chances in 2013. Before spring training started this season the Phillies had newly acquired outfielder Ben Revere penciled into center field, and Delmon Young penciled into right.
The Phillies had one outfield slot to fill and five men to fill it (Domonic Brown, Darin Ruf, John Mayberry, Laynce Nix and Ender Inciarte), which put them in a palatable (though not optimal) situation.
That was when the Phillies reported Delmon would not play in spring training games, was still recovering from offseason ankle surgery and that the team should hope for a mid-April return, but expect him back in May.
Phillies had seen extended play from Domonic Brown from 2010-12 (35, 56, 56 games, respectively), and each time he disappointed, and as such was written off to some extent before spring, because the fan base had its eyes on Darin Ruf. The red hot young slugger who hit 38 HR last year and 11 more in Venezuela over the off season. But Ruf has come up small this spring; he’s only hitting .218 and he’s thrown as the same amount of home runs over the fence as he’s hit.
Ruf’s struggles make Delmon Young’s return, and his veteran presence, more vital than ever for the Phillies. Darin Ruf will be ready for the majors soon, but it wont be opening day.