HOUSTON -- Charlie Manuel considered starting catcher Carlos Ruiz for the second time in three days on Thursday, but the manager opted to play Erik Kratz behind the plate for the Phillies' series opener at Minute Maid Park.
Manuel wants to get Ruiz back in the heart of the lineup, but the Phillies skipper also doesn't want to force Ruiz back from injury too quickly. Ruiz was on the disabled list for more than a month with plantar fasciitis in his left foot.
"If it's not completely healed, the more active he gets on it, it comes back," Manuel said.
Ruiz started his first game since returning from the disabled list on Tuesday in Philadelphia, going 1-for-5 with a double. The 33-year-old catcher picked up two hits in Sunday's game against the Rockies after coming into the game in the sixth inning.
With the Phillies' top half of the lineup currently heavy on left-handed hitters, Manuel wants to get the right-handed hitting Ruiz back in the mix. Ruiz already has set career highs in homers (14), RBIs (60) and extra-base hits (43) in 2012. He needs one more run and eight hits to set career highs in those categories.
"He balances the lineup a little better in the five-hole," Manuel said.
Manuel hinted that Ruiz could be back in the lineup on Friday and Sunday.