PHILLIES’ DARIN RUF SHOWS HE’S READY FOR A BIG 2016

By Sam Bush

It didn’t take long for Darin Ruf to show the Phillies that he is serious about making 2016 his showcase year.

Alex Rodriguez homered on the second pitch he saw, but Maikel Franco cleared the wall and Ruf (above) drove in three runs, helping the Phillies rally for a 13-4 victory over the Yankees yesterday at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Franco’s fourth-inning shot off right-hander Diego Moreno tied the game, and the Phils rallied for four runs in the fifth, highlighted by Ruf’s two-run single. Franco and Tyler Goeddel also collected RBIs in the fifth off Jacob Lindgren and Anthony Swarzak.

Rodriguez, who hit 33 homers in what he called a “Cinderella season” after returning from a historic drug suspension, connected on a 1-0 pitch in the first inning from left-hander Adam Morgan.

Ivan Nova started for the Yanks, permitting a Ruf RBI double among two hits over two innings. Nova, who is competing with CC Sabathia to serve as the Yankees’ No. 5 starter, walked none and struck out one.

Nova said that he feels “great” in his second year back from Tommy John surgery and that he is not concerned with trying to impress manager Joe Girardi or pitching coach Larry Rothschild.

“I just have to prove to myself I can be in the rotation. I don’t have to prove anything [to them],” Nova said. “They have seen enough from me. This is my seventh year in the league, so they have seen enough. I don’t worry about trying to impress my manager or pitching coach. I just have to concentrate and do my job.”

Morgan worked two innings, allowing two runs and two hits.

Phillies right-hander Jeremy Hellickson starts today’s Grapefruit league game against the Braves at Bright House Field. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET. The Phillies are expected to choose between Hellickson and Aaron Nola as their opening day starter.

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