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Philadelphia Phillies: Darin Ruf's injury ups slugger's oddly negative story

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A strained oblique in spring training isn't likely to stop Darin Ruf's 2014 season. But, this physical setback could prevent him from making the 25-man roster on March 31.

The Philadelphia Phillies have been oddly dismissive of someone who his Reading Phillies teammates aptly dubbed 'Babe Ruf' two minor league years ago. General manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. previously knocked Ruf's defensive game, which didn't make sense for a few reasons.

Ruf light up the 2012 summer sky when he massacred 38 baseballs before earning a major league promotion. Those taters broke Howard's Double-A franchise home run record and instantly made the mid-20's first baseman a prospect. But, the obvious dilemma was and still is that the 'Big Piece' is blocking his natural position.

Amaro ordered Ruf to man left field in August of his record-breaking year and then put him in right field in Philadelphia for portions of last season. The Phillies top front office boss has openly stated that Ruf wasn't a major league outfielder, which was obvious and didn't need to be said.

Ruf is a good first baseman. But, everyone knows that he wasn't trained to wear an outfielder's glove. Every opposing team knows that to be the case.

Simply praising Ruf's willingness to be flexible would maintain his full value. There's no need for other general managers to confirm that Amaro believes Ruf has limited options with his current employer. Doing so has reduced Amaro's trading hand, if he is planning to deal this player at some point.

Heading toward the start of a new season, Amaro is facing the reality of Ruf starting the season in the minor leagues. If it's decided that he has no real place on Ryne Sandberg's team, the 27-year-old's potential trade value seems to have been somewhat muted.

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