Two weeks ago the Phillies demoted Darin Ruf to Triple-A and he won’t be back in Philadelphia anytime soon, as Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News reports that the 27-year-old first baseman/outfielder has a broken bone in his left wrist.
The injury stems from a collision with the outfield wall on June 2, but the initial diagnosis did not find any fractures. Apparently a follow-up exam saw something different, so now Ruf is out for … well, actually the Phillies haven’t given an official recovery timetable yet. Lawrence speculates that Ruf will be sidelined for at least a month and that’s just until he can get back into the Triple-A lineup.
Ruf has hit well in the majors, smacking 18 homers with an .830 OPS in 92 games for the Phillies, but with Ryan Howard entrenched at first base there isn’t much room for him unless they want to take a big hit defensively. He’s too good offensively to deserve being stuck at Triple-A, but for now that’s a moot point.
All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.
The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.
It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.
It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.
Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉