Charlie Manuel can’t be expected to win on a consistent basis without his top catchers on the Philadelphia Phillies‘ active roster. But, as of now the names of Carlos Ruiz and Erik Kratz are both shown the disabled list.
Kratz’ recent injury (torn medial meniscus) to his left knee will require surgery and a likely significant period of recovery time after that, which is where Ruiz’ return comes into play.
If ‘Chooch’ continues to progress from a hamstring injury that caused him to be put on the DL on May 21, he should be back in action well before the end of June. With Kratz gone, Manuel is relying on journeymen Humberto Quintero and Steven Lerud to temporarily handle all catching duties. While those players are competent, they don’t possess the skill level that the Ruiz-Kratz duo does.
With whatever anyone has concluded about Ruiz’ offensive rise since the 2010 season, the Phillies need to believe that the 34-year-old veteran will be capable of providing decent offensive production this season. While it’s impossible to know how Ruiz will perform without the assistance of Adderall (assuming that MLB hasn’t authorized his use of the ADHD drug since his suspension), no one should summarily write him off.
Supplements surely help players to perform at higher levels, but they don’t make someone become a big league ball player. Yes, enhanced performance, lessened recovery periods and other benefits are gained through the use of banned substances. That’s why they are used. But, existing physical talent and experience matter as well.
It would be a stretch to believe that Ruiz will return to the team and hit .325, or generate a .935 OPS, like he did last season. However, the man has pride and will be starting on a regular basis. So, in addition to his in-tact defensive skills, it’s reasonable to believe that he can deliver a decent offensive effort.
As long as this 8-season veteran can produce near to the level that Kratz has with his bat this season, Ruiz will be doing his part at the plate.