No runs, no hits, no balls hit in his direction -- that was how Carlos Ruiz's inning as the Phillies' third baseman began on Tuesday night. It was the top of the ninth inning of what turned out to be a 13-inning, 8-7 Phillies' victory. In order to preserve Eric Bruntlett as the last available pinch-hitter in the bottom of the ninth, they needed Ruiz to put away his catching gear and go inside and grab his infield glove for the first time in a major-league game.
It began with this conversation, Ruiz said: "(Bench coach) Jimy Williams, he was talking, he was looking right into my face, and he said, 'Hey, you go to third base.' And I (said), 'What?'"
Everybody laughed at the re-telling yesterday afternoon in the Phillies' clubhouse. It had been a short night for everyone after the 5-hour, 17-minute marathon. (Note: the difference between sportswriters and professional athletes is that the sportswriters look a lot more tired the day after a night like that one.)
Anyway, Ruiz said he kept asking shortstop Jimmy Rollins and seeking cues from coach Steve Smith in the dugout if he was positioned correctly. He said he was kind of hoping that a ball had been hit to him in his one inning out there, just to make the experience complete. (Rest assured, no one else on the team harbored such hopes.)
"Last night was a great moment," said Ruiz, who admitted he hadn't played in the infield since 1997 or 1998, except for during infield practice.
"I do it everyday," he said. "You never know."