Ruiz OK after straining neck in Classic
Phillies catcher involved in collision, but in lineup Sunday
By Will Gonzalez / Special to MLB.com
Ruiz, the regular catcher for the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies, was removed from Saturday's game between Panama and Puerto Rico after he fell backwards on the artificial turf of Hiram Bithorn Stadium while catching an infield popup in the seventh inning.
Panama's manager, Hector Lopez, said after the game that Ruiz was removed because he suffered "whiplash" in the fall and he was not sure if Ruiz was going to play on Sunday.
"He is fine today," said Lopez when the Panama squad took batting practice before its Sunday afternoon game with the Dominican Republic. "Ruiz is in the lineup. I am using the same lineup as yesterday."
"I feel good", said Ruiz when asked about his condition. "I feel a little sore but I can play." Ruiz did all of the pregame drills and took batting practice. He did not show signs of discomfort.
Ruiz also did not express second thoughts about participating in the Classic after his fall. "I had to come. The President of Panama called me, and my mom wanted me to do it for our country."
Ruiz will catch Ramiro Mendoza, Sunday's starter against the Dominican Republic.
Johnny Cueto will start for the Dominican Team.
The loser of Sunday's game will be eliminated from the Classic. The winner will face the winner of the game between Puerto Rico and the Netherlands, which is scheduled for Monday at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Will Gonzalez is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.