WASHINGTON — Carlos Ruiz has started 553 major-league games and only once has he ever hit higher than sixth.
On Saturday, he is batting fifth in Charlie Manuel's batting order for the first time in his career. He hit second once, in 2008, behind leadoff batter Jayson Werth. Ah, memories.
But this move was a long time coming. Manuel often says he does not want to mess with Ruiz's mind by batting him higher even with increased success. Ruiz forced his hand. His .610 slugging percentage leads all National League catchers and is almost 200 points better than any other Phillies regular.
He's been the only one hitting the ball with pop on a consistent basis. He already has five home runs, one off his entire total from 2011 and halfway to a new career high.