ATLANTA — This was bound to happen. Carlos Ruiz is tied for most games played by a catcher and only three others have squatted behind home plate for more innings. He raced through the first half of the season with a .350 batting average and largely avoided the hazards of everyday catching.
Then he woke up one morning in Los Angeles and his left foot started bothering him. Charlie Manuel termed it as mild plantar fasciitis. It became such an issue he pinch-hit last week vs. Milwaukee wearing sneakers instead of cleats — and tied the game with a sacrifice fly.
"It felt like a knife in the back of my foot," Ruiz said.
He sat again Saturday, which represented his second time on the bench in the Phillies' last three games. He plans to play Sunday afternoon. Combined with off days in the schedule, Ruiz will have the luxury of sitting four out of six days.
Ruiz needs it.
"It's good to have a day off," he said.
Ruiz noted there is improvement in the foot, especially Saturday. He has done some different stretches and received treatment for the injury.
Ruiz is tied with St. Louis's Yadier Molina in games played (87) among all major-league catchers and fourth in innings caught (696).
Since the start of that series in Los Angeles, Ruiz is hitting .267 (8 for 30) with four doubles. His season batting average is .344, which is the lowest since May 16 (.343).
"Chooch has had trouble with his foot," Manuel said. "At the same time, he can play."
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