As the retooled Philadelphia Phillies look to bounce back from a disappointing 2012 season, the team will have to start their journey without one of their best players. Catcher Carlos Ruiz is due to sit the first 25 games of 2013 after testing positive for Adderall, a substance banned by Major League Baseball.
Philly reporters spoke with Ruiz for the first time this spring in Clearwater, Florida on Wednesday and the All-Star backstop answered question after question about the suspension.
Here are his initial thoughts on starting the year on the bench:
“First, I apologize to my organization, the fans, my teammates, my whole family,” Ruiz said. “I feel so bad. I’m trying to put everything behind [me] and do my best this year.
“For me, it’s hard, man. I leave my team for 25 games but I want to play. At the same time, I feel like they support me. I have a lot of good friends. I’m ready to come back and do my best.”
Ruiz was then peppered with questions as to why he used the drug and what benefit it provided. Ruiz sidestepped the questions and gave packaged quotes, probably in attempt to avoid saying something he would regret. Adderall is, after all, a commonly prescribed medication for Attention Deficit Disorder and the effects are widely known.
Either way you spin it, the Phillies will have to overcome his absence in the month of April if they expect to keep up in the National League East. If last year was any indication, the Nationals and Braves will be gunning for the division crown with even bigger goals in mind. The Phillies are talented and experienced, but starting without Ruiz is not the ideal beginning to 2013.
Here is Ruiz addressing the media via CSNphilly.com: