The Phillies feel Ruf isn't ready to play left field in the majors yet. Ruben Amaro said he needs work in left and will play there five times per week in Triple-A, according to Jim Salisbury.
Ruf has hit well lately. In his last 11 games, Ruf was 11-for-34 with two homers, five doubles, six RBI and six strikeouts.
Ruf's demotion opens up a spot for either Ender Inciarte (who the Phillies must dedicate an opening day roster spot to or risk losing) or Yuniesky Betancourt, who can ask for his release on Sunday if he's not guaranteed a spot on the 25-man roster.
*Salisbury also tweeted that Amaro didn't rule out trading for an outfielder. Jayson Stark furthered that thought, writing: "Other teams say Phillies have been trying to add an outfielder, catching & bullpen depth."
The fear is that this opens the door for Betancourt to make the team, despite his lengthy track record of being the worst player in Major League Baseball. The Phillies just have a penchant for these free-swinging hitters who don't have power, and Betancourt has impressed this spring. Let's hope the Phillies put more stock into his 4,000 plate appearances than his 50 in the Grapefruit League.
Keeping Inciarte obviously makes more sense. He's 22 and has displayed superb outfield defense this spring. He could provide value off the bench as a pinch-runner or late-inning defensive replacement for Domonic Brown or Laynce Nix in the outfield.
The Phils also released Rodrigo Lopez, who was blown up by the Braves in his last spring start.