Darin Ruf falls victim to roster crunch

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The Phillies' Darin Ruf. (Laurence Kesterson/AP)

Darin Ruf arrived Sunday morning at Citizens Bank Park with a decent shot of being in Ryne Sandberg's lineup against Mets lefthander Jon Niese. But, shortly after 10 a.m., he received news of a demotion to triple-A Lehigh Valley. He packed his red Phillies bag.

"They send you out, Ruf?" a surprised teammate asked. Ruf nodded.

The 27-year-old power bat fell victim to a roster crunch in the wake of consecutive 14-inning games. The Phillies needed arms; they recalled Phillippe Aumont and purchased Cesar Jimenez's contract. Jeff Manship was placed on the disabled list with a strained quad, and Ruf gathered his belongings.

The move is not temporary. Ruf cannot return for 10 days unless he replaces an injured player.

The roster shuffle gave the Phillies 13 pitchers for the time being. Antonio Bastardo is not available Sunday, nor is Mario Hollands. Jonathan Papelbon, Jake Diekman and Mike Adams have been used with high frequency in recent days.

Ruf was the one to go. Neither John Mayberry Jr. nor Reid Brignac have options remaining. Cesar Hernandez, who is starting at second base Sunday, is the lone reserve infielder. Both Domonic Brown and Ben Revere have options, but the Phillies were not about to demote a piece of their starting outfield.

Sandberg started Ruf twice in the 10 games he was available. Ruf batted 11 times total and was 1 for 10 with a homer.

Jimenez, 29, had a 1.67 ERA in 27 innings for Lehigh Valley. Aumont, 25, walked 21 in 24 innings at triple A. He found a groove in the last week with a 6 1/3-inning scoreless streak in which he struck out eight and walked only two.  Both pitchers spent time with the Phillies in 2013.

"It's a work in progress down there," Aumont said. "I think I figured some things out. I feel much more comfortable. I'm not saying it's perfect. But it's getting there."

To clear space for Jimenez on the 40-man roster, lefthander Jeremy Horst was designated for assignment. Jimenez passed him on the depth chart.


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