MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that Phillies outfielder/first baseman Darin Ruf has been diagnosed with a Grade 1/2 left oblique strain and will be out four to six weeks as a result. Ruf suffered the injury taking a swing during batting practice.
Ruf was competing for a roster spot as a back-up outfielder and first baseman. However, he wasn’t having a great spring, slashing .217/.308/.391 in 46 Grapefruit League at-bats. There was a chance he was going to start the season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley so that he could get regular playing time, but that is now an issue the Phillies won’t have to deal with until May, it appears. In Ruf’s absence, the Phillies could choose to add non-roster invitees Bobby Abreu and/or Tony Gwynn, Jr.
Ruf impressed in his first lengthy stint in the Majors last season, posting an .806 OPS with 14 home runs in 251 trips to the plate. Unfortunately, he is roadblocked at first base by Ryan Howard and in both outfield corners by Domonic Brown and Marlon Byrd.
The Braves have signed former football player and current outfielder Sanders Commings, an Augusta, Georgia native, to a minor league contract, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
Commings, 26, was a defensive back who played for the University of Georgia before being selected by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. He appeared in two games in the 2013 season.
Commings also played baseball for Westside High School and was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 37th round of the 2008 draft. He chose to attend the University of Georgia instead. When football didn’t pan out, Commings started training with Jerry Hairston, Jr. Hairston said he was “blown away” when he saw Commings hit for the first time.
Obviously, Commings’ path to success as a professional baseball player will be long, but it’s a no-risk flier for the Braves. The club has past experience with football players, including Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan.
The next task for the Braves will be to acquire Ryan Goins from the Blue Jays. That way, players will look at the lineup card each day to see if it’s Commings or Goins.
On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”
Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:
To that, Archer said:
For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.