Ruiz, Hamels, Papelbon make NL All-Star team
MIAMI – The Phillies will be represented by three players at the All-Star Game in Kansas City on July 10.
Catcher Carlos Ruiz, starting pitcher Cole Hamels, and closer Jonathan Papelbon were all named to the team during the official announcement Sunday afternoon.
Ruiz leads the majors with a .356 batting average. He will be making his first trip to the All-Star Game.
Hamels, tied for second in the NL with 10 wins, will be making his third trip to the All-Star Game.
Papelbon, fourth in the NL with 18 saves, will be making his fifth trip to the All-Star game.
The mood in the Phillies clubhouse after the team suffered a fifth straight loss on Sunday was far from upbeat. But everyone to a man was happy for Ruiz, the spunky catcher who was signed out of Panama for $8,000 in 1998.
“I’m thrilled for him,” said Roy Halladay.
Ruiz caught Halladay’s perfect game and playoff no-hitter in 2010. Halladay has frequently said that Ruiz is the best he’s ever pitched to.
“We’ve all felt like he’s been deserving in the past and definitely again this year,” Halladay said. “I’m really excited for him. I think it’s going to mean a lot to him. He’s worked hard to become the player he is. He’s the kind of guy that everybody wants to see go [to the All-Star Game].”
Manager Charlie Manuel gave Ruiz the news before Sunday’s loss to Miami.
“It was exciting to tell Carlos,” Manuel said. “He’s a great example of what baseball is with how he’s improved in the last few years and the player he’s become. That’s kind of what you work for in this game, and what you strive for.”
Manuel called Ruiz the brightest spot in the Phillies season.
“Without a doubt,” he said. “Not even close.”
In addition to his robust batting average, Ruiz has a career-high 11 homers and 43 RBIs.
Ruiz, Papelbon and Hamels were all selected by NL manager Tony La Russa. San Francisco’s Buster Posey will be the NL’s starting catcher.
Ruiz spoke to his mother, Inocencia, back in Panama on Sunday.
“I still can’t believe it,” he said of his all-star status. “It’s definitely an exciting day for me and also for my family back home. I’m so happy.”E-mail Jim Salisbury at firstname.lastname@example.org