When Jamie Moyer limped off the mound and was assisted to the dugout by catcher Paul Bako during Tuesday night's game against Houston, it was the last Phillies fans would see of him this season.

The 46-year-old lefthander suffered two torn tendons in his groin area and another near a lower abdominal muscle, the team said. The injuries all occurred on the left side. He will undergo surgery within the next two weeks, according to team physician Michael Ciccotti, before beginning a rehabilitation program that could have him ready for next season's spring training.

Moyer has one year remaining on a two-year contract worth $13 million.

Ciccotti was optimistic about Moyer's recovery.

"With this injury, there is a 90-95 percent return rate to pre-injury level," Ciccotti said. "Jamie has all the qualities you need to get back. What's important is he didn't have prior issues with this hip. The fact he didn't have a prior problem with it and he damaged tissues that are in and of themselves healthy puts him in that high success rate."

Moyer was moved to the bullpen on Aug. 10 after making 22 starts, posting a 10-9 record and a 5.47 earned run average. He was bumped from the five-man rotation for Pedro Martinez and expressed his displeasure by accusing Phillies management of reneging on a promise.

As a reliever, Moyer went 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in five appearances.

Ruiz returns

So much focus had been on the Phillies' uncertain bullpen that the injured catcher who so capably handles the pitching staff had almost been forgotten.

But after missing six consecutive starts, Carlos Ruiz was behind the plate as Martinez's battery mate last night when the Phillies played Houston at Citizens Bank Park.

Ruiz had been sidelined after aggravating a sprained left wrist during a collision at home plate in a Sept. 18 game in Atlanta. The original injury occurred when he was hit by a foul tip during the previous series against Washington.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel thought Ruiz was ready to return to the lineup Tuesday, but Ruiz said he was advised by Ciccotti to give the wrist another day of rest. Ruiz had a cortisone shot last Thursday.

"When I got the shot, they wanted me to rest for five days, and [Tuesday] was my last day and I'm ready to go," Ruiz said before the game. "I don't feel anything and I hope to play the rest of the games."

Although he is best known for his work behind the plate, Ruiz has given the bottom of the lineup some valuable production, especially of late. He went into last night's game batting .338 (27 for 80) with four homers and 17 RBIs in his previous 28 games. Ruiz has a career-high nine homers.

Ruiz's absence gave backup Bako his most extensive playing time since he was brought up from Reading on June 9. Bako hit safely in seven of his previous eight games and batted .330 (10 for 30) with a homer and three RBIs.

Ruiz was wearing a wrap around the wrist that acts as a brace to keep it from bending too much. "I feel better with this on," he said.

Myers gets go-ahead

Brett Myers last night became available to come out of the bullpen for the first time since Sept. 12. He was out with a strained muscle in his upper back.

"He's done very well with his bullpen [sessions]," Ciccotti said. "He has no discomfort in his shoulder, so he's fully available."

Meanwhile, Chan Ho Park threw yesterday with no discomfort, according to Ciccotti. "He should be back very quickly," he said. Park suffered a strained hamstring on Sept. 16.

Before the game, Manuel emphasized how important it was for relievers such as Myers, Park and J.C. Romero to get in some innings before the postseason begins next week. The Phillies are hoping Myers can become an option for late-inning relief.

Romero was activated from the disabled list Monday and pitched one scoreless inning in relief. He had been out since July 23 with a strained left forearm.

"If we're going to have Myers and Romero and guys like that, we're going to have to pitch them first," Manuel said. "We've got to give them some work. They're not ready to go out there and pitch for a very long period of time."

A fine line

Manuel will be confronted with a balancing act as he navigates conflicting priorities in preparation for the postseason.

The manager wants his team to finish with the best overall record in the NL to get home-field advantage through the first two rounds. He also wants to give some key players, such as Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, time off.

"I think I can do it," he said. "It's not like I can take three or four out of the lineup at the same time."

Manuel made it clear he believes the Phils would benefit by getting the home-field advantage through the first two rounds, as they had last season when they won the World Series.

"I think home-field advantage is very important," he said. "The atmosphere from our fans . . . they create a lot of excitement and I think teams get up for that. Their focus and energy level is better. But I think we've also proved this year we can win on the road."

Last season, the Cubs finished with the best record in the NL but lost to the Dodgers in the division series, which enabled the Phillies to have the home advantage in the National League Championship Series.

or rparrillo@phillynews.com.