OMAHA, Neb. -- Darin Ruf, a member of the
Creighton baseball team from 2006-09, is skipping Triple-A and has been added to the 40-man roster for the
Philadelphia Phillies. Assigned number 18, Ruf is expected to be in a Major League uniform for tonight's home game vs. Florida.
Ruf becomes CU's 20th Major Leaguer, and is likely to become the first to debut since Kevin Frederick in 2002. Ruf could also be the first big leaguer from Creighton to appear in a Major League game since Mike Mahoney on Sept. 24, 2005. Mahoney is also the last Bluejay to get a hit in the Majors, as he homered off Mark Prior on Aug. 14, 2005 before going hitless in his final four games with St. Louis.
Ruf learned the news Sunday afternoon, making the jump from Double-A Reading after being named Eastern League Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year. Ruf led all of minor league baseball with 38 home runs in 2012, and led the Eastern League in home runs, RBI (104), total bases (303), on-base percentage (.408), slugging percentage (.620) and OPS (1.028). He was also second in batting average (.317), third in hits (155) and seventh in doubles (32).
The Phillies, 69-71 heading into a game against Florida tonight, are currently six games
behind St. Louis in the chase for the second National League wildcard spot.
Ruf has been a first baseman for most of his minor league career, but has also seen time at third base and left field since former NL MVP Ryan Howard seems ingrained at first base for the long haul.
"They found a place for [Harmon] Killebrew," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said on Saturday in an interview posted on MiLB.com. "They found a place for Babe Ruth. Yeah, we can find a place for you. We'll find a place for him if he can hit."
Ruf was a 20th-round pick in the 2009 Major League draft, the 617th selection overall. He has steadily climbed the ladder in the Phillies system, seeing time in Williamsport, Lakewood and Clearwater before spending the entire 2012 season in Reading. In 458 minor league games, Ruf owns a .305 batting average with 67 home runs, 283 RBI and a .520 slugging percentage.
A native of Omaha, Neb., and a Westside High School graduate., Ruf started all 227 games while on campus between 2006-09. He hit .331 with the Bluejays, finishing with 57 doubles, 27 homers, 22 sacrifice flies and 201 RBI.
Ruf was named 2007 Joe Carter MVC Player of the Year after a standout sophomore season that saw him hit .374 with eight homers and 57 RBI as the Jays won their first MVC Tournament in program history. A defensive wizard at first base for the Jays, Ruf remains the only player in Division I history to win multiple Rawlings Gold Gloves (2007, 2009). Ruf also was a three-time MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team selection and named a Third Team CoSIDA Academic All-American choice in 2009 before graduating that May with a degree in Finance.
The son of Bill and Mary Ruf, Darin was born in Omaha, Neb., on July. 28, 1986. His sister, Christa Ruf, recently completed a four-year career on the Creighton Softball team.
To make room for Ruf on the 40-man roster, the Phillies moved Michael Stutes from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list.
Ruf is the first Creighton product on a Major League roster since Tim Gradoville was called up on Sept. 6, 2006. However, Gradoville never actually appeared in a Major League game during his three-week promotion.
Other notable Creighton baseball alumni include Hall of Famer Bob Gibson, Scott Servais, Dennis Rasmussen, Alan Benes and Dave McKay.