Phillies Notebook | Injury doesn't strike Ruiz from lineup
EVEN OFT-INJURED Carlos Ruiz, quite familiar with the marvels of modern medicine, was shocked that his left elbow was serviceable. Hit there by a pitch Sunday, he had it MRI'ed and drained of accumulated fluid on Monday. Ruiz expected he would not start behind the plate in Game 1 of the National League Division Series. He couldn't even sleep on it Sunday and Monday night.
EVEN OFT-INJURED Carlos Ruiz, quite familiar with the marvels of modern medicine, was shocked that his left elbow was serviceable.
Hit there by a pitch Sunday, he had it MRI'ed and drained of accumulated fluid on Monday. Ruiz expected he would not start behind the plate in Game 1 of the National League Division Series. He couldn't even sleep on it Sunday and Monday night.
Then came yesterday morning. Ruiz awoke from a pleasant night's sleep. He arrived at Citizens Bank Park at 8:30. He caught pitching coach Rich Dubee, who threw him 49-year-old sliders and fastballs. He took a few swings: It did not hinder him, and it is his bottom hand as a righthanded hitter.
By 10, he was in the lineup.
"I wasn't going to miss this game," Ruiz said. "Game 1 of the playoffs, catching Cole Hamels? No way."
His manager, Charlie Manuel, was relieved.
"If you look, you'll see he's caught pretty regularly for me lately," Manuel said.
Ruiz has relegated fan favorite Chris Coste to bench player. Ruiz started 18 of the last 21 games, a stretch in which the Phillies won 17 times and made their run to the playoffs.
Manuel believes Ruiz' rapport with the pitching staff, his defensive ability and his clutch hitting make him indispensable, even with lefties Jeff Francis and Franklin Morales starting Games 1 and 2.
"I know he's hitting .189 against lefthanders," Manuel said. "I've been liking the way the pitchers have been throwing to him."
Ruiz went 1-for-3 in the 4-2 loss.
What it's Werth
How bad is Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba?
He's so bad that still-gimpy switch-hitter Shane Victorino, one of baseball's best basestealers, started in rightfield yesterday. Usually, the start would have gone to Jayson Werth, a righthanded hitter who is hitting .375 against lefthanders, 89 points higher than Victorino.
Torrealba threw out only 13 of 74 basestealers this season. He caught only two of the last 32.
Victorino is still not fully recovered from his right calf strain. After several setbacks, he was finally cleared to play in a full game Thursday, but only after an MRI determined that the sympathetic pain he felt around the initial injury was not serious.
Victorino is 37-for-41 in steal attempts, but he has tried only six steals since returning from his injury Aug. 22. He has been successful five times - twice, against Torrealba.
Victorino went 0-for-4 yesterday.
Michael Bourn pinch-ran for Greg Dobbs in the seventh inning with a 3-2 deficit, but, said manager Charlie Manuel, reliever LaTroy Hawkins' speed to the plate and Hawkins' attention to Bourn kept Bourn from running.
Bourn was out when Ruiz grounded into an inning-ending doubleplay.
Phillies publicity director John Brazer was starting to get concerned in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Phils trailed the Rockies, 3-0.
Ninety minutes before the game, Brazer had gone to the clubhouse on a mission. His mother Elena, a devout Catholic, had given him a bottle of Holy Water from Lourdes. She told him to sprinkle some of it on a few Phillies.
The water went on Aaron Rowand, Pat Burrell and Shane Victorino. Brazer wandered into the press box as the fifth inning began.
Rowand led off the fifth with a home run. Burrell followed with a homer that needed Citizens Bank Park divine intervention as it cleared the fence behind shortstop by inches. Suddenly, Victorino was up with two on and two out.
Could it be? No. Victorino grounded out to second. The Phils did not score again.
Starter Kyle Lohse warmed up in the bullpen in the seventh, but did not pitch. He said that he would be OK to start Game 3 in Colorado on Saturday even if he warmed up again today, though the Phils likely would not start him until Game 4 in Colorado on Sunday if he pitches in the game today . . . Jeff Francis' four strikeouts to start the game yesterday were the most to start a playoff game since Curt Schilling struck out five Braves for the Phillies in Game 1 of the 1993 NLCS . . . Righthanded reliever Ryan Madson (shoulder) threw a second strong bullpen session. He will next pitch in a simulated game tomorrow at the team's complex in Clearwater, Fla., then in an instructional league game there, and will be ready to join the team if it advances to the National League Championship Series next week . . . The Phillies announced the batting order in pregame ceremonies backward, so it would climax with MVP candidate and leadoff hitter Jimmy Rollins. *
Daily News sports writer Dick Jerardi contributed to this report.