Rain can't spoil debut for Braves' Ruiz, family

Third baseman announced as pinch-hitter, but game called before at-bat

Rain can't spoil debut for Braves' Ruiz, family

ATLANTA -- After shedding some tears of joy upon hearing on Friday night that his son had been promoted to the Major League level, Rudy Ruiz gathered some family members and boarded a flight from Los Angeles to Atlanta. The hectic cross-country trip provided him more opportunities to think about what it would be like to see his son on a big league field for the first time.

Safe to say, Rudy's imagination did not allow him to prepare for what transpired during the Braves' 6-2 win over the Nationals on Sunday at Turner Field.

As the Braves were holding a four-run advantage in the seventh inning, Rio Ruiz, ranked No. 15 on the Braves' Top 30 Prospects list, came off the bench and was announced as a pinch-hitter. His proud father immediately grabbed his iPad to capture the moment on video and then began to worry as dark clouds approached during a pitching change.

Unfortunately, the younger Ruiz never had a chance to step foot in the box because play was halted moments later because of rain and play never resumed. But this will always be considered his Major League debut because he was announced in the midst of an official game.

"It was worth it," Rudy Ruiz said. "He looked beautiful. I got a nice picture of him in a uniform."

The Ruiz contingent, which included Rio's parents, sister, grandparents and girlfriend, opted to wait through a one-hour, seven-minute rain delay in the sixth and then the one-hour, 50-minute rain delay that preceded the decision to halt the game. In the process, they all were forced to rebook their flights back to Los Angeles.

Though there may have been some inconveniences, Rudy Ruiz was wearing a bright smile as he stood outside Atlanta's clubhouse early Sunday evening. He won't be traveling to see the Braves play in New York or Miami this week, but he hopes to return for the final homestand to get a chance to truly see his son play in a big league game.

"I wouldn't change anything, seeing his almost at-bat and missing all the flights," the proud father said. "It was just great to see him out there."

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.