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Suspended C Ruiz renews Manuel's trust

The SportsXchange

Philadelphia Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz began training camp with an apology. He was suspended 25 games without pay for testing positive for an Amphetamine in violation of Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, the league.

Ruiz, speaking to media for the first time since the ban was announced in November, said he first cleared the air Tuesday with manager Charlie Manuel.

"I got on him," Manuel said. "I got on him good. ... I don't think he'll ever do it again, that's what I think."

The suspension is effective at the start of the 2013 regular season, but Ruiz can participate in spring training games.

"I want to put that behind me," Ruiz said Wednesday, apologizing to fans and teammates in a media swarm that lasted less than 10 minutes. "I made a mistake and I paid."

The 33-year-old is coming off his first career All-Star star appearance in 2012 and received eighth- and 10th-place votes in the National League Most Valuable Player voting after establishing career highs in hitting (.325) OPS (.935), home runs (16) and RBI (68) while playing in 114 games. He posted his career-best numbers despite missing a month with a foot injury.

Manuel has hinted that Ruiz was the team's most valuable player last season and reiterated that along with Cardinals All-Star Yadier Molina, he believes Ruiz is one of the best in baseball behind the plate.

General manager Ruben Amaro said the Phillies know Ruiz is paying for his mistake, but the Phillies will pay, too. Erik Kratz, 32, is projected as the starter until someone takes the job from him this spring.

Ruiz was also awarded the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award, an honor that goes to the best defensive player on each major league team. Ruiz had a .994 fielding percentage in 2012, which tied for fifth in the big leagues among catchers.

Ruiz's previous career-high for home runs was nine in 2009.
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