Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz hopes to be able to play against St. Louis Cardinals

Carlos Ruiz has a right wrist contusion and x-rays were negative. (Steven M. Falk/Staff Photographer)

Carlos Ruiz says he is feeling fine, but the real test will come when he wakes up on Thursday in St. Louis.

With one out in the eighth inning of Wednesday's 4-1 win over the Washington Nationals, Ruiz was hit in the right wrist by a foul ball off the bat of Danny Espinosa. After a brief delay, Ruiz returned behind the plate.

In the bottom of the inning he flew out to right fielder Bryce Harper.

After the game, the Phillies said that Ruiz has a right wrist contusion and x-rays were negative. He is listed as day to day.

"I’m all right," Ruiz said. "I put some ice it’s going down, it's sore but normal."

Ruiz says he wants to play in Thursday’s opener of a four game series in St. Louis against the defending World Series champion Cardinals.

“I think I will be able to go,” he said.

Yet nobody knows for sure.

The Phillies could ill-afford to lose somebody who Roy Halladay called the other night the team’s best player.

Ruiz certainly has been so far. He is batting .357 with seven home runs and a team-high 29 RBIs.

On Wednesday he batted cleanup for the first time in his career. Ruiz went 3 for 4 with a run scored.

“It was fun and I liked that,” he said about hitting cleanup. “I was relaxed. It was exciting.”

The Phillies and Ruiz will collectively be holding their breath. Both Ruiz and Wednesday’s winner Cole Hamels have been by far the team’s two most dependable and best players.

Hamels pitched eight shutout innings, limiting the Nationals to four hits. Ruiz feels there is no secret to Hamels’ success.

“He has commanded his fastball and offspeed pitches,” he said. “His curveball was big and you could see tonight he threw a lot of strikes.”

Hamels and the rest of the Phillies have spoken for years about Ruiz in glowing terms and this year they appreciate the fact that he has taken his game to another level.

“He is definitely building himself into an all-star caliber catcher and I think we’ve always known that,” Hamels said. "Finally to get that sort of recognition from everybody else is so good for him because he works so hard day in and day out.”

And he also plays one of the most demanding positions in all of sports.

“To be able to catch the different type of pitchers we have and to call a great games, you don’t always look for a catcher to have a big bat and he’s pulling it out,” Hamels said. “It’s nice to see, it really is.”