Chooch's first start since Aug. 2 a success
Catcher could return to starting lineup as soon as Friday
PHILADELPHIA -- Carlos Ruiz started on Tuesday for the first time since Aug. 2 as the Phillies earned a 9-7 win over the Marlins, and manager Charlie Manuel said it went well.
Ruiz had been on the disabled list because of an injured left foot, so the Phillies are bringing him along slowly. Erik Kratz started Wednesday's series finale against Miami at Citizens Bank Park, and Kratz seemed likely to start Thursday's series opener against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.
Manuel said Ruiz could be back in the lineup as soon as Friday.
Martinez starts at third; Frandsen nearing action
PHILADELPHIA -- Michael Martinez started at third base for the seventh consecutive game on Wednesday.
Kevin Frandsen is sidelined with a stress fracture in his left fibula, and Placido Polanco will finish the season on the disabled list. Chase Utley continues to work out at third base, but Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Wednesday, "You might not see him there this year, but there's a chance you might see him there in Spring Training and stuff like that."
Of course, that doesn't help the Phillies now. Martinez is hitting .161 with two home runs and seven RBIs, while Frandsen is hitting .341 with one homer and nine RBIs. Manuel said Frandsen could start as early as Thursday in Houston.
Phillies third basemen have just four homers and 35 RBIs this season, both of which are the lowest totals in the big leagues. Their .329 slugging percentage ranks 29th. Their .636 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) is 28th.
"I think I'll be able to put him in," Manuel said of Frandsen. "The trainers tell me if I play him, I can't just put him out there and let him keep playing two or three days in a row. I have to play him and rest him, see how he reacts and kind of work him in like that. I think I'll be able to get him into a game on the field, but I don't think it will be like consecutive games."
Phillies still trying to figure out spot for Ruf
PHILADELPHIA -- Charlie Manuel said he wants to get Darin Ruf into a game soon, but when?
"I was thinking about hitting him the other night with the bases loaded, if you want to know the truth," Manuel said before Wednesday's series finale against the Marlins. "[But] I haven't seen him that much and I want him to get comfortable around our guys."
Asked if it is tougher to play an untested rookie now that the Phillies have moved into competition for a National League Wild Card spot, Manuel said, "Yeah, definitely. At the same time, over in Houston, I'll look and see who's pitching, and I might try to get him in a game over in Houston. I will try to get him in a game if I think it's OK. I'm definitely not scared to play him. It's no big deal, he'll play."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.