PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Darin Ruf is a man without a position for the 2014 Philadelphia Phillies.
As the situation has been for the last several years, Ryan Howard is set to be the every day first baseman. The team signed Marlon Byrd to be the team’s every day right fielder, and Domonic Brown is set in left field. Ruf is someone who can give the team’s lineup a boost, and he seems to be willing to play wherever the team wants him to make that happen.
“Coming up through the minor leagues being predominantly a first baseman, I was excited when they came with the opportunity to try some left field, last year a little bit of right field as well. So the more spots I can help the team out the better chance I have of getting on the field,” Ruf told Angelo Cataldi and the 94WIP Morning Team on Friday.
Playing right field was a surprise to almost everyone, including Ruf himself.
“I was excited to play a little right field [last season] too. At first I thought it was a joke. I never played there before, but it was a great opportunity and I was thankful that Charlie [Manuel] gave me that opportunity,” he said.
With a starting spot seemingly out of the picture, the “right handed bat off the bench” might be the best role for Ruf.
“Sure [I can be a bench player]. It’s definitely something you need to learn how to do,” Ruf said. You learn from talking to other guys that have done it, have been successful doing it, watching them how they prepare for the at-bats. It’s nice, especially when we get up to Philly being at some of the away major league parks, they have great facilities that allow you to get ready.”
The other option would be something that’s been mentioned in the past because of Ryan Howard’s struggles against left-handed pitching, but never seriously considered until recently; a platoon at first base.
“The kid can hit and if he can hit, he’s going to play,” general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “I don’t know if it’s a platoon, but why wouldn’t he be able to take some of his [Howard’s] at-bats?”