CLEARWATER, Fla. — With strong winds and Stephen Strasburg on the mound, Darin Ruf is absent from the Phillies lineup Wednesday. The 26-year-old first baseman turned left fielder has stumbled in early spring action. That has only complicated the outfield picture.
Ruf has been hit by a pitch as many times (three) as he has hits this spring.
The message from Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. was similar to the one Charlie Manuel has repeated, except a bit stronger.
"Ruf has struggled in the outfield and he has struggled offensively," Amaro said. "Sometimes that happens. He's a kid who is basically coming from double A. He wants to do his best to get acclimated in left field. He's trying to impress with his bat. He's probably trying to do a little too much.
"Whether he makes our club or not, that remains to be seen. He's going to have to play better than he's playing now to be on our major-league roster. There are a lot of things going on with him. We're throwing a lot of stuff at him. With some time, hopefully he'll start to relax and play the way we know he can play. He's still learning."
Ruf can be sent to the minors for more seasoning. He has never played a game at triple A. That scenario is more realistic by the day.
"We still have a close to a month to make decisions," Amaro said.
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