Ruiz reconsiders, will play in Classic
Agent says Phillies catcher wants to suit up for Team Panama
After declaring that he would not be suiting up for Team Panama in the World Baseball Classic this spring, Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz has changed his mind -- for good -- and he has decided to take back his original decision and play for his native country, his agent, Marc Kligman, said Thursday.
Ruiz had decided last week that he wasn't going to play for Team Panama, and he even let Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. know of his decision. But within the past 24 hours, he had a change of heart.
"The reason is that Carlos, as Spring Training was starting to approach, was really focused on bringing another championship to Philadelphia, and he felt like the best way to do that was to be with the Phillies [this spring]," said Kligman, who has already notified Amaro about his client's choice. "But since he made his decision, he had subsequent meetings with officials from Panama, and he reconsidered his decision. He felt it was important to the citizens of Panama that he's ready to play for them."
Kligman said the club is "100 percent supportive of his decision."
Ruiz played for Panama -- where he's currently residing -- during the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006, going hitless in six at-bats for his native country, which didn't get past the first round of pool play.
When provisional rosters for the Classic were released on Jan. 19, 12 Phillies players were named, including Ruiz, Jimmy Rollins (USA), Ronny Paulino (Dominican Republic), Matt Stairs (Canada), Carlos Carrasco (Venezuela) and J.C. Romero (Puerto Rico).
The final rosters of 28 players for the Classic -- including a mandatory 13 pitchers -- must be set by Feb. 24. The tournament will run from March 5 until the finals in Dodger Stadium on March 23.
While appearing in 117 games in his third season with the Phillies in '08, Ruiz, 30, batted .219 with four home runs and 31 RBIs.
Alden Gonzalez is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.