Despite posting solid numbers in the big leagues whenever he’s been given the chance, outfielder/first baseman Darin Ruf‘s future with the Phillies isn’t very clear.
The 27-year-old slugger entered action on Friday sporting a .254 batting average with 14 home runs and 30 RBI in 71 games in the majors this year.
Ruf has continued to put in plenty of work after mashing 41 homers last year, including a team record 38 with Double-A Reading and an additional three in the major leagues after a September call up. He began this year at the Triple-A level, which gave the Creighton University product a chance to work on his defense in the outfield.
Even after proving he can be a productive offensive contributor and showing his defensive versatility, Ruf’s spot in the Phils’ lineup may not be locked in for next season. The rookie feels like his best approach is to continue playing as though he’s fighting for a job and looks forward to a chance to continue donning red pinstripes in the future and helping the Phillies win.
“I don’t think you ever want to think your spot in the majors is solidified because there’s a lot of things that can go wrong,” Ruf said on the latest edition of the PhoulBallz Podcast. ” Injuries, things like that and, obviously, you have to prepare to perform well every single day too and that’s not a guarantee as well, but, you know, I just hope for the opportunity to come into spring training next year to fight for a position and, you know, definitely prepare as though that’s going to happen. Hopefully, I’ll be a part of the plans for next year and, hopefully, next year we can turn this thing around a little bit.”
Asked if he, or any other young players on the team, such as third baseman Cody Asche, have been told that a spot in the lineup or a position in the field is theirs to lose next year, Ruf admitted that Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg has not provided any player with that sort of indication, but he trusts that the new skipper will share some advice with the younger guys as they head into next season.
“We haven’t been told anything yet. I don’t know if we will. I’m sure Ryne-o has his hands full these last few days as well, but if we don’t get a chance to talk over the next few days, I’m sure he’ll talk with probably most of the guys that would be invited to big league spring training next year and let us know his expectations for us, let us know what we need to do put ourselves in the best position possible. That’s the kind of guy I feel he is, so, he wants us all to succeed and be the best players we can,” Ruf said.
To download the show and listen to the full interview, in which Ruf discusses the Phillies’ disappointing season, jokes about the attendance of some division rivals plus talks about baseball cards and more, click here.