NEW YORK -- Opening Day for Carlos Ruiz happened 26 games after it did for the rest of the Phillies, but it was opening day regardless.
"I am really happy to be here -- it's a nice, nice feeling," said the catcher in the dugout Sunday morning before his return from a 25-game suspension for testing positive for using an amphetamine. "I am putting everything behind me.
"This wasn't like being injured, it was completely different. I watched a lot of games, and it was hard for me because I would like to be here and I can't do anything because I was under suspension."
Ruiz, who was permitted five rehab games, played two at Class A Clearwater and two at Double-A Reading on Friday and Saturday nights. He hit a cumulative .143 with a homer and three RBIs in the four games.
"They throw a lot of strikes in Double-A compared to extended spring training," Ruiz said. "Extended spring, you face a lot of kids and you don't feel comfortable at home plate.
"See the ball, swing, use the middle of the field -- that's what I always try to do, The last two games I feel great, and that's very important for me."
Likewise is his return for the Phillies. Catchers Erik Kratz and Humberto Quintero hit a combined .209 with two home runs and nine RBIs in the absence of a 2012 All Star. Quintero was designated for assignment to make room for the 34-year-old Ruiz.
Asked whether the Phillies missed Ruiz more at the plate or behind it, manager Charlie Manuel said, "I'd say both."
Ruiz was hitting fifth Sunday, the place to which he ascended in the 2012 order.
Jay Greenberg is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less