You see, Jimmy Rollins haters? This is what happens when you try to HARD, you know.
Darin Ruf will be sidelined for 4-8 weeks after feeling a twinge in his rib cage during batting practice on Thursday, assuring the outfielder/first baseman will not be on the Phils' Opening Day roster, and likely could be out until mid-to-late May.
Last year, Chase Utley missed 28 games with a strained oblique, and Phils officials say Utley's case was not as severe as Ruf's. The Phillies say Ruf will undergo more tests on Friday to gather more information on the extent of the injury, but things do not look good now for Ruf, who had been impressing manager Ryne Sandberg and appeared to be a really good bet to make the team out of Clearwater.
This, of course, makes things very easy on the Phils. Keeping John Mayberry on the team is now a lock, and essentially creates a two-man race for the left-handed reserve role between Bobby Abreu and Tony Gwynn Jr. Gwynn has looked good this spring, hitting .346 after a 2-for-3 performance on Thursday. He plays all three defensive positions and provides better late-inning defense and speed than Abreu.
Abreu had a good day at the plate on Thursday, going 3 for 4, raising his spring average to .281 with an on-base percentage of .452 in 32 at bats. Gwynn is just ahead of him with a .500 OBP in 26 spring ABs.
The Phillies could put both men on the roster at the start of the season and go with a shortened bullpen and a four-man rotation. Ruf, meanwhile, will likely return to the minors when he's recovered from his injury, unless the Phillies can find a taker for Mayberry.
It's a rough blow for Ruf, who now has to start from scratch and try to claw his way back to the Majors once his oblique is healed.