DETROIT -- Phillies outfielder Darin Ruf has an excellent opportunity to prove himself while Ryan Howard recovers from left knee surgery.
Ruf, a converted first baseman, entered Saturday's game against the Tigers hitting .288 with four doubles, two home runs, three RBIs, a .481 slugging percentage and a .383 on-base percentage in 52 at-bats. If Ruf can show consistent production offensively, he could work more into the team's plans next season.
"He doesn't have that swing he had last year," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "He had a tremendous year last year. When he got sent out [in Spring Training] and he was working on a new position [left field], that might have something to do with his hitting. He shows you in batting practice and every now and then in the game when he hits the ball hard. He shows you that he's got it. It's just a matter of getting consistent. I still like him as a hitter."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.