Cox says the Braves have a Ruf, too

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Atlanta Braves catcher Evan Gattis waits for the start of a spring training baseball workout, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- On a visit to the Braves' spring-training site in the shadows of Disney World earlier this week, I ran into former Atlanta manager Bobby Cox.

For what it's worth, Cox really likes the Phillies' acquisition of third baseman Michael Young and believes he will make the adjustment to playing defense at the position.

"Give him some time," Cox said.

Cox also inquired about Chase Utley's health and wanted to know who the Phillies planned to play in their outfield. Told that Darin Ruf will be given a chance to prove he should be the opening-day left fielder, Cox was not familiar with the 26-year-old slugger.

When he heard about Ruf's background and how he homered his way onto the radar a year ago, he said "We have one of them, too."

It was a reference to Evan Gattis, a 26-year-old catcher/outfielder that the Braves took in the 23rd round of the 2010 draft. Gattis played college baseball at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin and he slugged his way into the Braves' camp by hitting 16 home runs in 195 at-bats in the Venezuelan winter league. That's the same place where Ruf continued his phenomenal calendar year by hitting 10 home runs in 120 at-bats during the offseason.

"He's a huge guy," Ruf said. "He played with Freddy (Galvis) down there."

Of course, the difference between Gattis and Ruf is that the Braves have no room for the young slugger in their outfield because they are set with the Upton brothers -- B.J. and Justin -- and Jason Heyward. The Phillies, on the other hand, are hoping that Ruf can keep on slugging and prove to be a competent defender in left field.

You can read about the Braves' new outfield in my Inside the Phillies column Thursday.

 

 

 

 



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