8/19/2014 11:11 P.M. ET
Ruf looking to prove worth as everyday option
By Todd Zolecki, Erik Bacharach and Greg Johns / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- Right-handed-hitting Darin Ruf continues to make strides at the plate, but it hasn't translated into more than a platoon and pinch-hit role for the 28-year-old.
Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg has continuously reiterated that the Phillies lineup will be dictated by matchups, but going forward, the question still remains: Can Ruf be an everyday player?
"I think that's all a part of the evaluation right now. It's hard to say," Sandberg said. "With the team now, the way it has the left-handed bats in the lineup, going forward, I think a right-handed bat like his really doing well and dominating the left-handed pitching. ... It's a good start for him. Whether that can be expanded on remains to be seen.
"There's an opportunity there, no question about it."
It took some time for Ruf to get into a groove after a left wrist fracture hampered his progress in June. Since being recalled on July 22 until Aug. 10, Ruf hit .143 in 12 games, including six starts. But in his four scattered starts since, he's hit .583 with two doubles and a homer, raising his season average 127 points to .256.
Ruf is 84-for-327 (.257) for his career in the Majors, and 36 of those hits have gone for extra bases.
Phils president: GM Amaro 'not on the hot seat'
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies might have the third-highest payroll in baseball, but they are going to miss the postseason for the third consecutive year.
But Phillies president David Montgomery's support for general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has not wavered publicly, including Tuesday at the organization's Baseball 101 Clinic and Luncheon for Women at Citizens Bank Park.
"Ruben is not on the hot seat," he told a large group of Phillies fans during a question-and-answer session.
The comment hit Twitter shortly thereafter. Montgomery could not be reached later for further comment.
Montgomery has continually supported Amaro, despite nearly constant criticism from outside the organization. He told MLB.com in February, "I think we have somebody whose experience working under two general managers served him well and positioned him to be very effective at his job. We -- we -- need to do better."
He told The Philadelphia Inquirer in June, "I think we have pretty good people doing these jobs. We saw, over a long period, pretty good success with this group of people. Obviously, Ruben is part of that group."
Matter of time: Cano thanks Bowa with watch
PHILADELPHIA -- Robinson Cano is one of baseball's biggest stars, but Seattle's $240 million man hasn't forgotten the people who've helped him get to where he's at now as a six-time All-Star.
On Monday, Cano surprised Phillies bench coach Larry Bowa by sending over a new Rolex watch to the former Yankees infield coach as a quiet thank you for helping him as a youngster when he was first breaking into the Majors.
Bowa, who worked as the Mariners' third-base coach in 2000, was touched by the gesture and informed media members of Cano's gift. Bowa, 68, was a five-time All-Star shortstop himself for the Phillies during his playing days and served as the Yankees' third-base coach in 2006-07 when Cano was in his second and third seasons in the big leagues.
"He's one of those guys that told you when you get a ground ball, always have in your mind that it could be a bad hop or come up on you," Cano said. "And when you go to second base, always expect a bad throw from the shortstop or anybody, so you'll be ready. You can control that. Those are things that helped me a lot. That's what I really liked about him. He was a good mentor for me. He was a guy who really helped me out."
Bowa brings a fiery personality to the game and an up-front approach that resonated with Cano.
"He's just a guy that liked to win," Cano said. "If you don't know him in the beginning, you might not know what he's about. He'd get angry because he wants to win and those are the people you want to be around. He was a guy that always was there if you wanted to work. That was the main thing. He didn't wait a few days or say, 'Let me see what we can do.' He was always right there."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Erik Bacharach is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.