Carlos Ruiz set out from Pennsylvania on Saturday night for a 125-mile drive to New York City, where he could finally rejoin the Philadelphia Phillies.
A long trip, sure, but one he had been waiting all month to make.
“I was real happy on the way,” Ruiz said. “It was a nice feeling that everything was over.”
Philadelphia’s steady catcher returned to the lineup Sunday after serving a 25-game suspension for using a banned amphetamine.
Ruiz, an All-Star last season, batted fifth and went 1 for 4 with a double as the Phillies beat the New York Mets 5-1 to complete a three-game sweep. He said he was glad to be back with the team and had put the penalty behind him, though it was hard to watch Philadelphia play without him because he felt as though he wasn’t doing anything to help.
Philadelphia opened 11-14 minus Ruiz, who said supportive teammates kept in touch with text messages throughout his suspension.
With his regular batterymate behind the plate for the first time this season, Phillies ace Cole Hamels overcame six walks to earn his first win of the year Sunday.
“It’s huge. He’s been our leader,” Hamels said. “Just kind of excited to have him back. Just to kind of make our lineup feel more complete I think is huge.”
Affectionately known as “Chooch,” the 34-year-old Ruiz had a career year in 2012 when he batted .325 with 16 home runs and 68 RBIs in 114 games. He missed a little more than a month with a foot injury.
Ruiz’s suspension was announced on Nov. 27 following his second positive test. An initial positive for a stimulant does not trigger a suspension, only that the player must undergo follow-up testing.
The catcher apologized in a statement, saying he was “sincerely regretful” for his mistake “in taking a prohibited stimulant.” He apologized to teammates and fans again at spring training.
Ruiz reportedly tested positive for Adderall, an amphetamine commonly used to control attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Clearing the bases
Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki left the game against Arizona with a strained left shoulder after an awkward slide home. He will be re-evaluated today. … The White Sox placed starter Gavin Floyd on the disabled list with a flexor muscle strain in his right arm. Floyd will be replaced in the rotation by Hector Santiago.