Oct 042010
Phillies C Carlos Ruiz jumps onto the plate

Phillies C Carlos Ruiz jumps onto the plate

October 4 mlb.com:

PHILADELPHIA — Why do teammates love Carlos Ruiz so much?

Here are a couple examples:

Phillies closer Brad Lidge remembers a game when Ruiz, who teammates call “Chooch,” had a nice day at the plate. He might have hit a home run. He might have had one or two more hits or two or three more RBIs. He cannot remember the specifics, but he can remember how Ruiz chucked his glove into his locker after the game. He can remember how he sat there with his head in his hands.

The Phillies had won, but his pitchers had struggled.

It made Ruiz visibly upset.

“This guy absolutely cares more about the team than he does about himself,” Lidge said. “He’s never happy if he does well at the plate. He’s only happy if the pitchers do well.”

Phillies left-hander J.C. Romero nodded in agreement as he heard the story.

“I remember him going up to Little Roy [Oswalt] or Big Roy [Halladay] after we won a game this year,” Romero said. “He went up to him and said, ‘I’ll do better next time. I was bad today.’ That was something that really stuck with me. He takes a lot of pride in calling the games. That’s what makes him so good. It doesn’t matter how he’s doing at the plate. He wants to call the right game to give the team a chance to win.”

Ruiz is having a career year. He hit .302 with eight home runs and 53 RBIs in 121 games. Of the 18 catchers in baseball with 400 or more plate appearances this season, Ruiz ranked second in on-base percentage (.400), third in batting and OPS (.847), fourth in doubles (28) and ninth in slugging (.447). But just as important, he ranked fourth in catcher’s ERA (3.31).

He hopes his success continues Wednesday, when the Phillies play the Cincinnati Reds in Game 1 of the National League Division Series at Citizens Bank Park.

His first priority is making Roy Halladay’s postseason debut a good one.

“That’s my job,” Ruiz said. “Help my pitchers. When they do real good, I’m happy. No matter what game I have offensively. If I don’t get a hit I still feel very good. That’s the first thing. Sometimes they come up to me and say, ‘Hey, I know you didn’t get a hit today, but you did good.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’m happy. I’m happy because of you.'”

An informal poll conducted this weekend in Atlanta revealed Ruiz is perhaps the most well-liked player in the clubhouse.

Ryan Madson got numerous mentions.

They also mentioned Raul Ibanez, Mike Sweeney and Kyle Kendrick.

But if Ruiz wasn’t the first player mentioned, he was second or third.

“He’s genuine,” Phillies bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer said.

He also is funny.

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