All of the angst about whether or not Darin Ruf would be on the Phillies’ Opening Day roster can probably cease. After suffering an oblique strain, it appears that Ruf will begin the season on the disabled list.
Ruf injured himself during batting practice this morning. He removed himself from the session after feeling a twinge and was examined by doctors who diagnosed the oblique strain.
Oblique injuries are difficult for baseball players to deal with, as they can be felt whenever a player swings a bat. Chase Utley suffered an oblique strain last season and ended up missing about a month of playing time. Chances are, Ruf will be out of action for at least a couple of weeks.
Without Ruf, the battle for spots on the Phillies’ roster becomes more interesting. I had supposed that the team would keep Ruf and only carry four starting pitchers during the early part of the season. It’s possible that the Phillies still go that route, and keep another outfielder like Tony Gwynn, Jr., who has had a strong camp. They could also add another reliever, but few of the pitchers fighting for a spot in the bullpen have made too strong of a case for themselves.
This is bad news for those fans who were hoping that the Phillies would trade John Mayberry, Jr. The team had reportedly been shopping him, but without Ruf, the Phillies probably can’t afford to lose any more outfield depth or power off the bench.
The injury is unfortunate for Ruf. He seemed to have impressed the Phillies’ coaches, and it looked like he might have played his way into a spot on the roster. But it now seems likely that if he is going to make an appearance for the Phillies in 2014, he’s going to have to wait a little longer.