Manuel puts Ruf in left for first big league start

Manuel puts Ruf in left for first big league start

PHILADELPHIA -- Darin Ruf finally got his shot.

With the Phillies practically eliminated from the postseason, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel penciled Ruf's name into the lineup for Tuesday's series opener against the Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. It was Ruf's first big league start.

"It's pretty cool," Ruf said with a smile before the game. "I've been waiting for the opportunity, so now I've got to take advantage of it."

Ruf did just that in his first at-bat, hitting a solo home run to left field against Ross Detwiler in the second inning for his first big league hit.

Ruf had just three plate appearances with the Phillies prior to Tuesday, so he had hoped his swing wasn't too rusty. He also hoped he handled himself well in left field, which is a new position for him.

Everything worked out fine.

Ruf met Randy Johnson, who is the fan that caught the ball in left field. They chatted briefly, snapped a few photos and Ruf signed a few baseballs for Johnson -- who is from Toms River, N.J. -- and his friends.

"Hopefully I can hit you a few more," Ruf told them.