The Phillies bench has been hurting. Their supporting cast, or lack thereof, has been extremely disappointing this year with the likes of Freddy Galvis, John Mayberry and more. Enter Darin Ruf. Just one season ago, Ruf burst onto the season in Philadelphia. In 73 games with the big club, Ruf hit 14 home runs and 30 RBIs. In spring training, we received the unfortunate news that Ruf, who was likely to be an integral piece of the bench, was going to be out of commission for a while with a strained oblique. Before the injury, he was 10-for-46 in the spring, with five walks.
Ruf's comeback trail began last week in Clearwater with the Threshers. He played three games there, tallying three hits, three RBIs, a walk and three strikeouts in 12 at-bats. In two out of the three of those games, Ruf played left field. He played first base in the other game. After having no issues to report, the right-handed power-hitter found himself in the Triple-A Ironpigs lineup against the Gwinnett Braves in left field for an early 10:35am game this morning. He had a solid day at the plate, going 1-for-2 with single, an RBI via the sac fly and a walk.
When Ruf is ready to go, you would imagine that he would immediately be called up with the state of the Phillies bench. Who goes though? They just recently called up Reid Brignac to replace Freddy Galvis, so he is likely to stay. Wil Nieves is the backup catcher, so he is a lock. Tony Gwynn Jr. and John Mayberry. Tony Gwynn Jr. can play all outfield positions, most notably center field, so he would be a lock to stay despite his lack of offense. That would mean John Mayberry is likely going to be the odd man out as Ruf has more offensive upside and can fill in at first base and the corner outfield positions.
That being said, you should be able to pick up your Mayberry shirsey's in your local Modell's or Dick's on clearance within the next few weeks.
Ethan Martin throws an inning of relief...
In addition to Darin Ruf, Ethan Martin was also with the IronPigs coming back from a shoulder injury. Martin, who the Phillies plan on adding to the bullpen when healthy, threw in three games for Clearwater last week. Over 2.2 scoreless innings, he gave up three hits and three walks.
He pitched during just one game in spring training this season, getting no outs and giving up three runs before leaving with a shoulder injury.
Today, Martin threw a scoreless frame for the Ironpigs, striking out two in the process.
Last season, Martin went 2-5 with a 6.08 ERA for the Phillies in 15 games (eight starts). He was 11-5 with a 4.12 ERA during the 2013 season in Triple-A.
Brandon Apter is a writer for Philliedelphia. Follow him on Twitter @ApterShock