Former Philadelphia Phillies first baseman/outfielder Darin Ruf is coming back to the United States, at least for Spring Training.
Ruf, who has spent the past three seasons playing for the Samsung Lions in the Korean Baseball Organization, has agreed to a minor-league deal that includes an invite to Spring Training with the San Francisco Giants. Jayson Stark of The Athletic reported this news Thursday night.
Over the past three seasons in Korea, Ruf has slugged 105 home runs and driven in 350 runs. It appears that the appeal of potentially playing in the major leagues again – even if it means giving up being a superstar overseas – was intriguing to Ruf. It’s unclear if he will return to Korea or head to Triple-A if he doesn’t make the Giants Opening Day roster.
In parts of five seasons with the Phillies between 2012 and 2016, Ruf slashed .240/.314/.433 with 35 home runs, 96 RBIs and a .747 OPS. While his power production against righties and lefties was comparable, his overall offensive output against right-handed pitchers wasn’t major league caliber, as he hit just .206 in 466 career at-bats against right-handed pitchers. That, along with a lack of serious positional flexibility, led to him wearing out his E-ZPass traveling back and fourth between Philadelphia and Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
In November of 2016, the Phillies traded Ruf to the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of a deal that netted them Howie Kendrick. The Dodgers ultimately worked out a deal with the Samsung Lions that allowed Ruf to head to the KBO in February of 2017.
Now 33, Ruff will compete for a job on a Giants team that is managed by former Phillies skipper Gabe Kapler. The two never crossed paths in Philadelphia, though, as Kapler was hired in October of 2017.
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