The Philadelphia Phillies may, or may not, have been surprised to learn that Carlos Ruiz violated Major League Baseball's Banned Substance policy. Regardless of their knowledge, they must deal with his absence at the start of this season and the unknown future that awaits him.
Ruiz' contract is set to expire at season's end. If he returns from his 25-game ban for use of a banned amphetamine and doesn't perform as he did last season, questions about his future are sure to swirl in south Philadelphia throughout the summer.
Set to turn 34 on January 22, “Chooch” isn't young by baseball standards. However, he didn't break into the big leagues until 2006 and has only played seven years for the Phillies.
There's no doubt that Ruiz' presence during this second golden age of Phillies' baseball enabled the 2008 World Series to be won. He also was a full part of Charlie Manuel's squad's five-year playoff run from 2007-2011.
It's too soon to tell if 2013 will signal the end of this affable man's career in Philadelphia. As Ruiz attempts to work purely on his own power this year, he will be the first to know just how much he has left to offer.