MIAMI -- Third baseman Rio Ruiz was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett and joined the Braves on Sunday morning.As he arrived in the clubhouse -- hours before first pitch in Atlanta's series finale with the Marlins -- Ruiz was greeted with open arms. The 24-year-old will be making the third
MIAMI -- Third baseman Rio Ruiz was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett and joined the Braves on Sunday morning.
As he arrived in the clubhouse -- hours before first pitch in Atlanta's series finale with the Marlins -- Ruiz was greeted with open arms. The 24-year-old will be making the third big league stint of his professional career.
"Just happy to be here," Ruiz said, taking a moment away from shaking hands and catching up with his teammates, allowing it all to sink in. "Trying to contribute in any way that I can, help the team continue to win and win the division at some point."
Ruiz entered Sunday's game in the sixth inning as a pinch-hitter and drew a walk.
To make room for Ruiz, the Braves announced that veteran backstop Chris Stewart has been designated for assignment. When a player's contract is designated for assignment -- often abbreviated "DFA" -- that player is immediately removed from his club's 40-man roster, and 25-man roster if he was on that as well. Within seven days of the transaction (it was previously 10 days), the player must either be traded, released or placed on irrevocable outright waivers.
In 126 games at Triple-A, Ruiz batted .269 with 71 runs, 72 RBIs and nine home runs. In his Major League career -- consisting of 157 at-bats since his debut in 2016 -- Ruiz is a .197 hitter. He'll provide some immediate flexibility off the bench, as the Braves previously had three catchers. Ruiz can fill in at both third and first base.
When asked about what improvements he has made in the Minor Leagues this season, Ruiz said he has learned to take a step back and stay in the moment.
"I made too many mistakes putting too many expectations on myself," he explained. "This time around, I'm going to go day by day, pitch by pitch, and we'll go from there."
Ruiz joins a Braves club that's thick in the race for the National League East crown -- Atlanta enters play Sunday three games ahead of Philadelphia for first place.
Sure, returning to The Show is "awesome" for Ruiz, but contending alongside teammates he has played with before in the organization's farm system, is even more special.
"I came up with a lot of these guys," Ruiz said. "Being able to see them do well and get the Braves back in the win column consistently is huge. It's really fun to be a part of, and I'm looking forward to it."
Max Goodman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami. Follow him on Twitter @Max_Goodman97.