8/3/2014 1:44 P.M. ET
Ruf sees unexpected action at third
By Daniel Popper / MLB.com
WASHINGTON -- In the midst of the Phillies' 11-0 loss to the Nationals on Saturday night, Darin Ruf made his first Major League appearance at third base.
The first baseman-outfielder pinch-hit in the eighth inning and stayed in the game at the hot corner, making the only play that came his way -- a ground ball from Asdrubal Cabrera -- using teammate Cody Asche's glove.
"Just try to make the plays that come to me," Ruf said of his approach. "Keep it simple."
The substitution came as a surprise to Ruf considering the second-year man hadn't taken a single ground ball at third during practice since he was called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on July 22. Even so, over the last couple of weeks, bench coach Larry Bowa mentioned to Ruf the possibility of him getting time at the unfamiliar position.
"I think he wanted to see me over there," Ruf said.
The last time Ruf played third base was in 2011, when he started three games there for Class A Clearwater while everyday third baseman Travis Mattair was out with an oblique strain.
Moving forward, Ruf didn't rule out taking reps at third during practice if that's what manager Ryne Sandberg and the rest of the coaching staff wants. But in that case, Ruf said he might consider investing in an infielder's glove of his own.
"It's always good to have a backup one," Ruf said. "It might take a little bit to get broken in."
Since his return, Ruf has struggled to find consistent playing time because of the resurgence of outfielder Grady Sizemore along with continued production from center fielder Ben Revere and right fielder Marlon Byrd.
Ruf has gotten the majority of his starts at first base, but Sandberg remains committed to a struggling Ryan Howard, who's started eight of nine since being benched for three games in late July, despite a season batting average looming close to .200.
"It's difficult, but it's a role that I might have to get used to, a role that I'm having to get used to right now," said Ruf, who entering Sunday was batting .148 in 17 at-bats since July 22. "No excuses for not going out there and performing well, but I just need to keep getting my work in in the cage, things like that. Stay fresh, probably be more aggressive in certain situations, learning how to come off the bench and have a good at-bat. Those are things that you learn as you do it more, and hopefully as the year goes on, I'll be able to do a much better job of it."
Brown out with tonsil infection, to see team doctor
WASHINGTON -- Outfielder Domonic Brown has an infection in his tonsils and will see a team doctor in Philadelphia when the Phillies return home Monday.
Brown was out of the starting lineup for the fifth straight game Sunday against the Nationals.
Brown woke up with a sore throat and fever Friday morning. Manager Ryne Sandberg announced Saturday that the outfielder had strep throat, and now it appears his condition has worsened.
This is Brown's second bout with strep throat in the past month. He came down with the illness during the weekend before the All-Star break, but still pinch-hit July 12 and 13 despite feeling under the weather.
The news comes after Brown's most productive month of the season. He hit .286 with a .715 OPS in July, raising his season clips from .221 to .231 and .600 to .620.
Prospect Joseph to have wrist surgery
WASHINGTON -- Double-A Reading catcher Tommy Joseph, the Phillies' No. 20 prospect, will undergo season-ending surgery on his left wrist Tuesday. Dr. Don Sheridan will perform the procedure.
Jospeh suffered the injury May 9 while trying to make a play at the plate. He hit .282 with five home runs and 19 RBIs in 21 games for Reading.
The 23-year-old also missed significant time last season with a concussion. He played in just 36 games, 21 of which came with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
The Phillies acquired Joseph in 2012 when they dealt Hunter Pence to the Giants. Joseph was a second-round pick by San Francisco in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.
• Cliff Lee met with team physician Dr. Steve Cohen on Saturday for an evaluation of the left-hander's strained throwing elbow. Cohen confirmed the original diagnosis of a left flexor pronator strain, the same injury Lee encountered earlier this season.