MIAMI -- The Phillies need right-handed bats, which seems to put Carlos Ruiz in a stronger negotiating position as a free agent.
Ruiz has hit .301 with 12 doubles, four home runs, 26 RBIs and an .823 OPS in 41 games since Aug. 2.
"We'd like to bring him back," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "He knows we'd like to bring him back. We'll see what happens. It wouldn't be the first free agent [we've had]. … I'd like to have as much balance [in the lineup] as we can, we haven't been very good against left-handers. It's well documented."
Said manager Ryne Sandberg: "The way he's performed, I would hope he'd be back. He's a right-handed bat. His status here, him being comfortable here, maybe the ball's in his corner and he could help with that decision. It could come down to that, where he wants to go.
"That's a big hole that needs to be filled. The sooner the better."
Rookie catcher Cameron Rupp started Tuesday against the Marlins. Not only do the Phillies need to find a starting catcher for next season, if Ruiz does not return, they will need to decide about their backup catcher.
Erik Kratz entered Tuesday hitting .205 with eight home runs, 23 RBIs and a .635 OPS in 66 games. He has hit .140 with one RBI and a .378 OPS since returning from knee surgery in July. Rupp is the top catcher on the organizational depth chart with Tommy Joseph missing most of the season with concussion issues.
"I think there is competition there, yes," Sandberg said. "As far as the whole catching situation, right now, there is a need of who it will be. … [Rupp's] arm plays better than I thought. He has some pop in the bat. Haven't seen a lot of at-bats, but contact would be key for him. He's just a strong, stocky kid. He's really built for the position. He's on the younger side of it. That is another thing in his favor."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less