"I thought he was joking," Ruf said. "Then he quickly changed his tone."
"'No, I'm really serious,'" the coach said. "'I was looking for you. You need to take fly balls right now.'"
The Phillies put Ruf in right field because they activated Domonic Brown from the seven-day concussion disabled list, designating Laynce Nix for assignment to make room for Brown on the 25-man roster. Brown has a better arm than Ruf and he has played 437 games in right in his professional career compared to Ruf, who has played zero.
So why Ruf in right?
"Dom Brown's improved a lot in the outfield," Manuel said. "And he's been playing left field and his improvement has actually come in left field. I think that his season speaks for itself. Right now, we want to definitely find out what are options are for right. I like keeping [Brown] there, basically when you get down to it. I want to make sure Ruf gets some playing time and we look at him and he gets enough at-bats for us to see exactly what he can do."
Delmon Young has been playing almost exclusively in right field since he joined the team in late April. Ruf's move to right seems to drastically cut his playing time the remainder of the season, although more roster changes are looming.
"There will probably be some more changes on our team as we go down through August and September because the teams that definitely are in contention and trying to win, they might come in and maybe take some of our players," Manuel said. "There might be a few things going on, but I don't know. That could help him stay in the light, as far as playing."
Ruf took some fly balls in right before batting practice and took more during BP.
"Hopefully, it'll be a smooth transition, but I've never played there before," he said. "I played one winter ball game out there this year. Other than that, it's a new position. But other than that, hopefully, I'll be able to learn on the fly."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.