Darin Ruf is outpacing Laynce Nix for an outfield job at the moment, but so far that is the highlight of his preseason accolades.
Laynce Nix isn’t even leading the league in anything if you turn on the “unnecessary ‘Y’ in first name” filter. So in Darin is going to be that underdog slugger we want him to be, he’ll have to start picking up the pace. Fortunately, Charlie Manuel isn’t worried.
Actually, Charlie Manuel not being worried might be a sign for worry. Charlie has a way of deciding he likes someone, and then sticking with them, regardless of painful it is to watch them play baseball. As the manager of a baseball team, this tends to counteract most things Charlie is trying to accomplish, career-wise. But there’s Brad Lidge, trotting out for another shot at closing a game in 2009.
Is Charlie saying Darin on track for $60 million? No, of course not. Or maybe he is. No, he can’t be. He is merely stating that how we view a guy now is an adjustment or two away from being completely forgotten.
And perhaps that’s what this Darin Ruf experiment is all about; finding a spark of talent and seeing if it’ll burn long term. Or maybe it’s about adding another name to a lackluster outfield competition because of a notably terrific season at Double-A.
Whatever it is, it can only can get better. If the Rowand comparison is any indication, Ruf has a long, injury-riddled, face-smashingly heroic career ahead of him.
UPDATE: Everything’s coming up Darin!