Darin Ruf finally did one of those Darin Ruf things we’ve been expecting him to do all the time and cracked a game-winning, walkoff home run to beat the Braves 7-6 yesterday.
The Phillies filtered out of the dugout to meet him in lackadaisical “I guess we’re obligated to do this” preseason baseball-style and congratulated the lad, not pretending he doesn’t exist like they did that one time. The baseball was turned to mere threads, clearing the entire stadium and landing somewhere where it would eventually become a part of some beach fowl’s nest.
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A great moment for a kid whose had heaps of pressure to perform, now, as a surprise who was never supposed to be here in the first place. The Phillies were thrilled with the young slugger’s afternoon, despite his recent struggles at the plate, in the outfield, and in not throwing the ball over the outfield fence.
They celebrated the day by shipping Darin out of camp to join his compatriots at Triple-A spring training, where he will most likely start the season, play left field a lot, and become the hero we’re all demanding that he be. It seems that we’re destined for something like a Mayberry/Nix platoon in the outfield, with maybe some Michael Martinez because he always seems to be around somewhere. Rumor has it he pays Ryan Howard $200 a month to live in his gym bag.
An important spring for Darin Ruf, certainly, and pretty much what could have been predicted (and in most cases was). He didn’t fail completely, though he did fail a lot, but now he will have the time at a lower level to develop until the time comes for him to board that bus for the long ride from Lehigh.