In 2000, the Phillies signed a five-foot-nothing, Panamanian infielder named Carlos Ruiz, remade him as a catcher and waited to see what happened. Twelve years later, he became the Phillies' best player.
Beerleaguer: That’s no reach. Not only does he carry a workman’s toolbox of intangibles (toughness, clutch hitting, expert handling of an elite pitching staff), but the humble catcher is also the club’s driving force when you crunch the numbers. His 0.7 early season WAR leads the team after knocking in three runs in leading the Phillies to a 5-2 victory over the Cubs Saturday night. His sixth-inning bomb to deep left came ten minutes after taking a fastball off his kneecap. He is, quite frankly, building a Philadelphia legacy not unlike Brian Dawkins, who threw out the game’s first pitch: an unassuming servant of the city, the model of blue-color reliability and grit; a title-winning catcher, without detractors, which honestly can’t be said about any of the other stars from the championship era. He’ll be enshrined on the Wall someday.
Game chat: Kyle Kendrick looks to rebound from his last start when the Phils and Cubs continue their set starting at 1:35. Kendrick surrendered seven runs in Monday’s loss to the D-Backs. Meanwhile, Jimmy Rollins and crew try to build off Saturday’s effort and will face Matt Garza. J-Roll delivered a two-run double as part of the four-run fourth. … On the injury front, we’ll see if Charlie Manuel gives Chooch the afternoon off. Jim Thome was taken out of the game with lower back tightness. After one month, the Thome experiment has been nothing short of a Paul Bunyan-sized bust.