Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz, frantic over two missing childhood friends whose fishing boat capsized in Panama, helped rescue them and save their lives.

Jeffrey Eisenband of The Postgame, provided the story, which began Saturday night with a knock on the door, after Ruiz had returned to his Philadelphia home after a victory:

“I came back to my house and my brother [Samy] was knocking on the door real hard,” Ruiz told ThePostGame. “I was thinking something bad happened. I opened the door, and he looked at me and asked if I knew what happened in Panama. I asked if something happened with Mama.”

It wasn’t his mother, it was three longtime friends from Panama, where they all had grown up — Blas Pitti, Walter Dubarran and Jose Mercedes Rodriguez. Pitti had been rescued shortly after the boat capsized. The other two were missing. By phone, Ruiz assembled rescue teams and sent them to search.

Ruiz’s friends were lost in the water for 35-40 hours, but they were rescued thanks in part to Ruiz, who hired boats, helicopters and airplanes to search for them. “For almost two days, we were so worried,” Ruiz said. “We didn’t know if something was going to happen to them. I’m so happy they are OK. Now I can get back to the field.”…

Rodriguez was found strapped to a fuel tank, but one more buddy remained missing.

Perhaps the rescue of Dubarran was even more impressive. Dubarran strapped himself to a buoy and used a broken boogie board to help him float. As he had been in the water for 35-40 hours, he started to become weak as Sunday afternoon neared night. He was dozing off on the buoy.

As Joaquin told Carlos, Dubarran was on the surface enough to trigger the attention of the boat that Ruiz deployed.

“[Joaquin] saw something and said, ‘Hey, look! There’s something. The captain saw there was something and they went there. They jumped in the water and found them. I told my brother he did a great job.”

The crew told Dubarran it was Carlos who funded his rescue, and he got on the phone with Carlos as soon as he got to shore.

Ruiz paid for the rescue teams and his friends’ medical treatment. All three men are in stable condition, according to the report.

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