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Return of Ruiz eagerly anticipated by Phillies

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Return of Ruiz eagerly anticipated by Phillies play video for Return of Ruiz eagerly anticipated by Phillies

NEW YORK -- The Phillies will get Carlos Ruiz back on Sunday, when he is eligible to return from a 25-game suspension for testing positive for an amphetamine, and it will line up perfectly for the veteran backstop to catch Philadelphia's three aces.

With Cole Hamels starting Sunday's series finale against the Mets, and Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee following him in Cleveland after Monday's off-day, Ruiz could potentially catch all three. The trio have followed each other in the rotation 18 times with Philadelphia, and last week's rotation against Pittsburgh marked the first time the club lost all three games started by the anchors of its staff.

Ruiz's bat will not only be a welcomed addition to a lineup that saw its catchers -- Erik Kratz and Humberto Quintero -- hit .206 (18-for-88) with four doubles, two homers, seven runs scored and nine RBIs in his absence, but behind the plate, where he is respected for his game calling.

The trio of Hamels, Halladay and Lee have a 2.95 ERA the past two seasons while throwing to Ruiz and a 3.31 mark with all other catchers.

"Our pitchers got used to pitching to him definitely over the past two or three years," said manager Charlie Manuel, who expects to pencil Ruiz into the fifth or sixth spot in the lineup. "He's improved his catching, and he's become an offensive threat for us. The last two years, he's really been able to get some big hits for us and hit in the clutch. We need him back. We're going to get better when he's back."

"He was obviously our best player last year," Lee said after his last start. "Getting him back can only help. His bat and his game calling and his leadership behind the plate can definitely help us."

The Phillies will likely move Kratz or Quintero to make room for Ruiz on the roster. Kratz caught Kyle Kendrick's three-hit shutout against the Mets on Friday and went 1-for-3 with a walk. Quintero was behind the plate in Saturday's matinee for the second start of Jonathan Pettibone's big league career and went 0-for-4, dropping his average to .250 (5-for-20) in the Phillies' 9-4 win.

Ruiz is scheduled to play six innings Saturday night for Double-A Reading after going 0-for-4 and catching nine innings with the club on Friday.

"The guys that have caught here, they've done a good job," Manuel said, "but Chooch has been our regular catcher for the last four or five years."

Steven Miller is an editorial producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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