Carlos Ruiz will head to Clearwater, Florida to take batting practice and work on blocking baseballs for a few days with the intent of beginning a rehab assignment on Friday, according to Corey Seidman of CSN Philly. Ruiz has been out since June 26, when he was hit in the head by a pitch against the Marlins.
Ruiz, 35, is in the first year of a three-year, $26 million contract signed last November. The catcher hasn’t shown much power, but has been their best player in the on-base department. In 273 plate appearances, he has two home runs, 14 RBI, and a .257/.363/.357 slash line.
Ruiz’s back-up, Wil Nieves, has been out since June 19 with a strained quad. As a result, the Phillies have had to resort to utilizing their third- and fourth-string catchers, Cameron Rupp and Koyie Hill.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.