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News » Rookie Ruiz collects his RBIs the hard way


Rookie Ruiz collects his RBIs the hard way


Rookie Ruiz collects his RBIs the hard wayAsk Randy Ruiz which celebrity he most resembles and he'll tell you Muhammad Ali.

And after Toronto's 14-8 win over the New York Yankees yesterday, the Blue Jays first baseman sat alone in front of his locker with his lower lip bruised and his left cheek swollen, looking as if he had just gone 15 rounds with Joe Frazier.

In truth, one shot dropped Ruiz - a fastball from Josh Towers that caught Ruiz flush on the cheek.

It came three pitches into Ruiz's second at-bat of the fifth inning, a frame that saw the Jays explode for eight runs, and one in which Ruiz touched off the scoring by punching an RBI single to right field.

Towers, a former Jay making his first major league appearance since 2007, had just entered the game, New York's third pitcher of the inning. He tallied two quick strikes before unleashing the 88-m.p.h. fastball that felled Ruiz.

While coaches, trainers and the home plate umpire gathered to check on him, Ruiz rolled over to his hands and knees and spit a stream of blood on the Rogers Centre turf before rising and walking to the dugout.

A doctor's exam revealed no serious damage, and two hours after the beaning Ruiz said he felt good enough to play today.

"I'm fine. Just a little swollen right now," said the 31-year-old rookie, who this weekend was named the Pacific Coast League's MVP. "It is scary but it's part of the game. I don't think he did it on purpose."

In the month since his call-up, Ruiz has played his way into the club's plans for next year, but when he hit the ground manager Cito Gaston could only think about his immediate safety.

"It's scary because you don't know what happened. It happened so fast," Gaston said. "Any time (the ball hits a player) up around the head, it's a bad feeling."

For Ruiz, yesterday's beaning is a detour in the most successful season in his pro career. A professional since 1999, Ruiz didn't reach the majors until last summer, when he played 22 games with Minnesota. Relegated to the Jays' Triple-A team out of spring training, he hit .320 with 25 homers at Las Vegas.

Back in the big leagues for less than a month, Ruiz already has six home runs and says a fastball to the face isn't enough to discourage him - even if it made him bleed.

"When I spit the blood I was like, 'Uh-oh. I probably broke my nose," he said. "When I looked in the mirror I was like, 'Ah, my face is just swollen. I'm fine now.' It's nothing that, growing up in New York City, I haven't experienced."

In taking the pitch to the head, Ruiz collected his second RBI of the fifth frame, driving in Toronto's eighth run of the game-breaking inning.

With four runs already in, Scutaro stepped to the plate and ripped a single to left to load the bases, and when New York starter Sergio Mitre walked Aaron Hill to score one more Jay , the Yankees replaced him with Mark Melancon.

New pitcher, same result - a run-scoring walk to Adam Lind, an RBI infield single by Vernon Wells and a walk to Edwin Encarnacion led to an 11-5 Jays lead and a quick exit for Melancon.

mcampbell @ thestar.ca

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Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: September 7, 2009

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