PHILADELPHIA -- Never before during Carlos Ruiz's 2 1/2-year Major League career had he played anywhere on the baseball diamond other than behind the plate.
But the 29-year-old had experience as an everyday infielder before signing with the Phillies as an amateur free agent in 1998, and he still takes ground balls in the infield with his teammates almost every day.
"You never know what you have to be ready for," Ruiz said.
That extra practice paid off during Tuesday night's game against the Mets, when Ruiz swapped his catcher's mitt for an infielder's glove, donated by teammate Pedro Feliz, and went to third base for the ninth inning.
The move worked out for the Phils, as it allowed them to save utilityman Eric Bruntlett for a pinch-hit appearance in the following half-inning.
The move worked out for Ruiz, as well. Though the Phils were facing a one-run deficit with the Mets' No. 4, 5 and 6 hitters due up, manager Charlie Manuel -- who had seen the Panama native taking infield practice -- had confidence in his ability to man the hot corner for an inning. Phillies pitcher Brad Lidge retired the Mets in order, and no balls were hit to Ruiz.
Shortstop Jimmy Rollins joked about the unusual sight of seeing Ruiz at third.
"I was like, 'Oh my goodness, any ball to third, I'm getting over," Rollins said, laughing. "I'm watching for the bounce off the chest, anything. But, fortunately, they kept the ball away from him. Smart hitters."
Though no balls were hit his way, Ruiz enjoyed the chance to shed his catcher's gear for an inning.
"Last night was a great moment," he said.
Kevin Horan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.