Ruiz activated; Polanco begins rehab Monday

Catcher Carlos Ruiz will start tonight after being on the disabled list since June 19. (AP file photo / Seth Wenig)

Good news today on the injury front for the Phillies.

(Pause. When was the last time you heard that?)

Firstly, catcher Carlos Ruiz was activated from the 15-day disabled list. He's missed the last 20 games with a concussion. Originally, the injury was viewed as needing a few days to recover from. So much for that.

Ruiz said he feels comfortable at the plate and behind it. In his second rehab game, he was hit with a foul tip square off the mask and didn't feel any ill effects from it.

To make room for Ruiz, Dane Sardinha was designated for assignment. Ruiz is starting and batting seventh tonight.

The time off also gave Ruiz a chance to heal all of his other injuries, among them: a right knee sprain, a sore right shoulder and a sore left ankle.

"During the course of a season, catchers get banged up a lot," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "You have to be tough. At the same time, when you keep getting banged up -- one injury after another -- pretty soon it's time for you to sit down and take a break. Chooch was probably there, especially after getting hit in the head with a bat."

Manuel said the one thing Ruiz will bring is stability to the pitching staff.

"I think our pitchers are comfortable with Chooch," Manuel said. "They like him. They follow him better. That's one of the biggest things he's accomplished in the last two years. The pitchers want him back there because it's a comfort thing. It's something you earn."

The news is good on third baseman Placido Polanco, too. As reported here last week, Polanco is still aiming for a return during the series in St. Louis that begins July 19. Manuel said Saturday that Polanco will go to Clearwater on Monday to begin baseball activities. He will take infield and batting practice there and could play in a rehab game.

"He says he's ready to go," Manuel said.

When Polanco returns, Manuel said he will primarily be a third baseman, even with the void Chase Utley has left at second. Polanco won a Gold Glove as a second baseman in 2009.

"He signed on here as a third baseman," Manuel said. "I want to keep him there."

Lastly, Wilson Valdez, who was a late scratch Friday with a sore left wrist, is available to play tonight. Manuel stuck with Juan Castro at second base because lefty Travis Wood is starting for Cincinnati. That also means one of Friday's heroes, Cody Ransom, earns a start at third base over Greg Dobbs.