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.
Nathan Eovaldi hasn’t pitched in a month due to right elbow inflammation, but he told Chad Jennings of the Journal News today that he expects to pitch out of the bullpen if the Yankees advance to the ALDS against the Royals.
Eovaldi was originally expected to throw a 35-pitch bullpen session today, but the Yankees moved up his timetable after the news that CC Sabathia was checking into alcohol rehab. Instead, he threw 10 pitches in a bullpen session before facing hitters for the first time since his injury.
There isn’t enough time for Eovaldi to get stretched out to start during the ALDS, but he could still play an important role for the Yankees, especially with Adam Warren looking like the most likely option to replace Sabathia in the rotation.
Yadier Molina suffered a mild ligament tear in his left thumb on September 20, but the Cardinals announced Monday that they remain “optimistic” he’ll be on the roster for the upcoming NLDS.
Molina visited a hand specialist Monday and Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that he’ll have a custom splint built in hopes that he’ll be able to hit and catch. He’s still not 100 percent, but even a limited Molina could be better than the alternative. That would be Tony Cruz in this case.
The Cardinals will meet the winner of Wednesday’s Wild Card game between the Cubs and the Pirates. Game 1 of the NLDS will take place Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET in St. Louis.