DETROIT -- Phillies outfielder Darin Ruf has an excellent opportunity to prove himself while Ryan Howard recovers from left knee surgery.
Ruf, a converted first baseman, entered Saturday's game against the Tigers hitting .288 with four doubles, two home runs, three RBIs, a .481 slugging percentage and a .383 on-base percentage in 52 at-bats. If Ruf can show consistent production offensively, he could work more into the team's plans next season.
"He doesn't have that swing he had last year," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "He had a tremendous year last year. When he got sent out [in Spring Training] and he was working on a new position [left field], that might have something to do with his hitting. He shows you in batting practice and every now and then in the game when he hits the ball hard. He shows you that he's got it. It's just a matter of getting consistent. I still like him as a hitter."
Phillies staying active with Deadline looming
DETROIT -- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel got a message on his phone Saturday from general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.
It came from Amaro's iPad. His phone had broken.
But the Phillies remain busy, regardless of their phone situation. A source told MLB.com on Friday they had agreed with Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez on a six-year, $48 million contract, which includes an $11 million option for 2019. The team also is trying to sign second baseman Chase Utley to an extension.
"I'm not going to discuss that," assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said about Gonzalez.
There could be many reasons for that, one of them being they want Gonzalez to pass a physical first. He has had bone spurs removed from his right elbow.
The Phillies entered Saturday's game against the Tigers at Comerica Park riding a six-game losing streak, five games under .500, nine games behind the Braves in the National League East and 9 1/2 games behind the Reds for the second NL Wild Card. There seems to be little reason to buy before Wednesday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline, considering the current state of the team and injuries to Ryan Howard, Ben Revere, Domonic Brown, Roy Halladay and others.
Asked how one could make a case for the Phillies to buy, Proefrock said:
"Smart as I am, I read today that the Mets think they have a chance. They're right where we are. Again, you get on a run like they have, they've played better of late and you can find yourself right back in it. We've got a tremendous amount of games at home still. We've played better at home. We go back and all the things we've said in the past ... we play better at home and we play better in the second half of the year. Now, obviously, we don't have Ryan. Domonic's out now. Ben's out now. We have some significant issues offensively. But so does everybody else. We played these guys [the Tigers] last night and they didn't have [Miguel] Cabrera or [Omar] Infante or [Torii] Hunter in the lineup. Everybody's going through kind of the same things. It's a matter of hopefully getting on a roll and who knows what can happen?"
While Proefrock would not touch the contract agreement with Gonzalez with a 10-foot pole, he said the team's discussions leading to the Trade Deadline have centered on the team remaining competitive beyond this season.
So even if Philadelphia sells, it will not be going into a complete rebuilding mode. The agreement with Gonzalez and the possible extension with Utley seem to indicate that.
"I think our plan is to be competitive and in the mix on an annual basis," Proefrock said. "I think all the different options that we've considered or talked about internally that I've been a part of have been geared toward just that, remaining competitive and being in the mix continually. We owe that to our fans and we certainly have the wherewithal to be in the mix to do that.
"I think it's going to get busier as we get closer [to the Deadline]. We're going to get together in Philly early in the week and review things and, as Ruben said yesterday, we're going to listen. I don't think it's a decision that's been made whether we're necessarily buyers or sellers yet. I think we'll consider all things that are proposed or we propose."
• Phillies right-hander Roy Halladay threw his third bullpen session Saturday. Pitching coach Rich Dubee said it went fine.
• Outfielder Domonic Brown is on the seven-day concussion disabled list. He will be re-examined on Monday.
• Manager Charlie Manuel started Michael Martinez in center field on Saturday.
"I just wanted to get him in the game," Manuel said. "He's been hitting pretty good in Triple-A. I just wanted to give him a game, really. John [Mayberry Jr.] has been playing a whole lot against righties. I just wanted to get him in there and let him play. He's been hitting better in Triple-A since we sent him back than he ever has before. I saw about 10 days ago he was hitting like .319."
But Martinez has hit .148 (4-for-27) in nine games since.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.