Ruiz, Howard show they still have skills

Veterans finishing tenure with Phillies on a high note

Ruiz, Howard show they still have skills

SAN DIEGO -- Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz figure to have a little less than two months remaining in their Phillies careers.

Both are in the final year of multiyear contracts, and although they have club options for 2017 the Phillies are expected to take buyouts on both deals. But while the end in Philadelphia is likely coming for the pair, they have been hitting the ball well recently, including Sunday in a 6-5 victory over the Padres at Petco Park.

Howard singled to center to begin a seven-hit, four-run fourth inning to give the Phillies a 5-1 lead. Ruiz went 3-for-4, which included a RBI in the fourth.

Howard is hitting .311 (19-for-61) with four doubles, six home runs, 10 RBIs and a 1.026 OPS in 23 games since June 23. Ruiz is hitting .362 (17-for-48) with two doubles, five RBIs and an .878 OPS in 14 games since June 23.

"We both want to be able to go somewhere and play beyond this year," Howard said. "We've got to try to make the most of what we can while we're still here. … I just keep doing my work. I've been doing this thing for 12 years, playing for 12 years. You figure out how to play the game. That's the game of baseball. Things come in waves. You have good waves and you have bad waves."

The recent good wave has not changed Howard's feelings about the future. He said he always planned to play beyond this season.

Ruiz's RBI single

Ruiz does, too.

"For whatever reason everybody else thinks I'm done playing," Howard said. "I know I can still play. I know I'm still capable of it. This year one bad month and you're done. For me it's about not having the opportunity to rectify the one bad month."

Howard hit .101 with a .421 OPS in May. He hit .140 with a .585 OPS in June, but he hit .250 with a .793 OPS before entering August.

"Everybody looks at May and says I can't play anymore," Howard said. "I know I can play and I still want to play in the future. That's where my mindset is. Now it's just taking advantage of the opportunities I get and put it in play for next year."

Said Ruiz: "I'm trying to keep myself ready for when I get the opportunity to play. I'm happy with the way I feel right now. I hope it continues that way and I finish the season strong. My body feels great. I feel strong. I don't have any soreness. I would like to play as many years as I can. We'll see what happens."

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.