CHICAGO -- As much of the Braves' prospect talk has centered around Ronald Acuna's tremendous potential and a talented crop of starting pitchers, Rio Ruiz has become somewhat of a forgotten figure. But over the season's final month, he has an opportunity to prove he remains a potential asset for
CHICAGO -- As much of the Braves' prospect talk has centered around Ronald Acuna's tremendous potential and a talented crop of starting pitchers, Rio Ruiz has become somewhat of a forgotten figure. But over the season's final month, he has an opportunity to prove he remains a potential asset for the club's future.
Approximately 15 hours after learning he would return to the Majors a few days earlier than expected, Ruiz capably handled his role as the Braves' starting third baseman in Friday afternoon's 2-0 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field. He accounted for two of Atlanta's four hits, and in the process benefited from adjustments he has made while spending the past two months with Triple-A Gwinnett.
"He went back down, went to work and had a really good year," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "He had a nice year and kept working. That's good for him. It's great and I'm glad to see he's getting an opportunity now."
Once the Braves completed the trade that sent Brandon Phillips to the Angles on Thursday night and suddenly found themselves in need of a third baseman, they summoned Ruiz around 11:30 p.m. ET and told him he needed to fly from Norfolk, Va., to Chicago for Friday's game. The 23-year-old rookie arrived at Wrigley Field around 10 a.m. with the intention of proving he has made necessary changes since hitting .175 with 25 strikeouts over 80 at-bats with Atlanta earlier this season.
"I think I knew what to expect more this time around, just as far as preparation goes and just keeping everything so simple," Ruiz said. "I wanted to do so well that I was actually hurting myself."
Ranked as the Braves' No. 21 prospect by MLBPipeline, Ruiz will likely serve as Atlanta's starting third baseman during the remainder of this series against the Cubs. He then might have to fight for playing time, as Johan Camargo will likely get a majority of the starts at the hot corner when he returns from the disabled list on Monday.
Ruiz singled in his first at-bat against John Lackey and capped his multihit performance with an eighth-inning double that nestled in the ivy along the left-center-field wall. He went just 4-for-29 over his final eight games at the Triple-A level this year. But as he tallied 12 home runs and produced a .776 OPS over the 66 games he played after returning from Atlanta, he felt like he shortened his swing and better prepared himself for success at the big league level.
"I think it is a time where I can show during the time I was back down, I made my adjustments and did what I needed to do," Ruiz said. "But there's also adjustments that need to be made. That's the name of the game, to adjust to the game."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.