PHILADELPHIA -- Thrust into a long-relief situation after starter Kyle Kendrick struggled on Wednesday, B.J. Rosenberg recorded three outs in the top of the third inning and walked into the dugout to get ready for his first Major League at-bat.
"I was up second, so I was like 'I need a bat. I need batting gloves,'" the rookie reliever said with a smile. "I was just getting stuff and throwing it on. Grabbed a bat and went out there."
Using the bat of injured reliever Jose Contreras, Rosenberg laid down a sacrifice bunt and reached base on an error. An inning later, facing Washington's John Lannan, he picked up the first hit and RBI of his career with a seeing-eye single up the middle. But his rare pair of plate appearances aside, where Rosenberg really impressed in Wednesday's 8-4 loss to the Nationals was on the mound. The right-hander tossed three no-hit innings to improve his scoreless streak to 10 consecutive innings.
After struggling earlier in the year, Rosenberg (1-2, 6.86 ERA) has pitched much better as of late. He entered Thursday having not allowed a run since giving up a home run to Atlanta's Martin Prado on Sept. 1, and he had given up only two hits in 30 at-bats since Sept. 4.
Rosenberg's recent success is not a coincidence. Shortly after his third recall from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Aug. 3, All-Star closer Jonathan Papelbon approached Rosenberg about throwing a splitter. The two began to work on the pitch while playing catch. What has resulted is a third pitch -- Rosenberg also throws a fastball and a slider -- that has helped him be more effective.
"He's a pretty good teacher to have when you're talking about throwing a split, so I was just fortunate that I was able to throw with him," Rosenberg said before Thursday's series finale against the Nationals.
"He's taught me a lot with it. I think it's been something that's kind of got hitters off my fastball a little bit. It's been a good pitch, especially the last couple outings, against the Braves [on Saturday] and this last one [on Wednesday against the Nationals], I was throwing it a lot more than I had been. It's been pretty good."
Ruiz not slowed since returning from DL
PHILADELPHIA -- An injured left foot derailed Carlos Ruiz's season in August, when the Phillies placed him on the disabled list.
The club activated him Sept. 7, promising to keep a close eye on the catcher and estimating he would not play too much the rest of the season. But as the Phillies entered Thursday's series finale against the Nationals at Citizens Bank Park, Ruiz had started 10 of the previous 14 games, including each of the last five.
"It feels good," Ruiz said. "I still feel it at times, but it's gotten a lot better."
Ruiz said he expects the offseason to knock out the remaining discomfort in his foot, having him ready to go in Spring Training.
Ruiz entered play Thursday hitting .237 (9-for-38) with one double, two home runs and seven RBIs in 13 games since his return.
Kratz, Frandsen have support of Manuel
PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel sees a future for Erik Kratz and Kevin Frandsen in Philadelphia.
Manuel said both have played well enough to handle a job next season, although nothing is guaranteed as the Phillies' front office will be constructing next year's roster in the offseason.
Kratz entered Thursday hitting .254 (34-for-134) with nine doubles, nine home runs and 26 RBIs in 47 games, although he had hit just .185 (12-for-65) since Aug. 23.
"Kratz has proved he has value as a backup catcher," Manuel said. "When I look at somebody like Kratz, I think to myself, Kratz fits. He's durable. He's strong. He definitely showed he can call a game. He showed he can throw. He showed he can hit a home run. I look at him and say, 'We got better if we've got Kratz as our backup catcher.'"
Frandsen entered Thursday hitting .331 (56-for-169) with six doubles, three triples, two home runs and 13 RBIs in 48 games.
"Frandsen, because he played different positions, he could be a utility player or a platoon player or something like that," Manuel said. "I'm not saying he can't play regularly, but he could fit on our team and make us better in that capacity."
Utleys dedicate animal-themed mural in Philly
PHILADELPHIA -- Chase and Jennifer Utley dedicated the second annual "Be Kind to Animals"-themed mural Thursday morning at McVeigh Recreation Center in Philadelphia.
The mural was created to promote the proper care and treatment of animals in the heart of the Russell H. Conwell Middle School community.
The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, Utley Foundation and Mitchell & Ness Nostalgia Co. teamed up to support the mural, which was designed by artist David Guinn and painted by students and faculty of Conwell, Jennifer Utley, Mural Arts Program executive director Jane Golden and other volunteers.
Darin Ruf got his third consecutive start in left field in Thursday's series finale against the Nationals. He entered the day hitting .333 (3-for-9) with one home run and two RBIs over five games (two starts) since his promotion from Double-A Reading.
Chase Utley entered Thursday just one home run away from becoming the first Phillies second baseman to hit 200 career homers.
Jimmy Rollins is two runs shy of his sixth-career 100-run season. There have been only three Phillies with more such seasons: Ed Delahanty and Sam Thompson (eight), and Mike Schmidt (seven). Billy Hamilton and Bobby Abreu also had six.