Manuel sticks with Chooch in cleanup spot

Manuel sticks with Chooch in cleanup spot

Manuel sticks with Chooch in cleanup spot
ST. LOUIS -- Carlos Ruiz has been hitting so well as of late that Charlie Manuel doesn't have any qualms with keeping him batting cleanup. Ruiz was penciled in the fourth spot Friday against the Cardinals, his third straight game in the four-hole and his third time there this season.

"He's been getting all of the hits for us. He got on more last night. He's been hitting real good," Manuel said. "We've had some trouble scoring runs, and I started putting feelers out. Pretty soon I figured I wanted to move Hunter [Pence] out of fourth, give him a breather. I felt like it might help him fill some holes. He might have been trying too hard. And Chooch was the one guy that was hitting the ball so I put him in there."

Pence has hit fourth 41 times this season, but he was batting third against the Redbirds.

Ruiz continued his stellar season at the plate in the series opener at Busch Stadium, in a 10-9 Phillies victory. He finished 3-for-5 with three singles a day after taking a hard foul tip off of his throwing wrist against the Washington Nationals. Ruiz began Friday batting .414 in May, with 19 RBI, and his .366 average was fourth-best in the league.

Manuel noted that Ruiz will likely be given the day off on either Saturday or Sunday, but the manager still isn't 100 percent sure which game it will be.

Manuel also had third baseman Placido Polanco, who was batting .284 this season, hitting seventh on Friday for just the third time this season. Juan Pierre was in the two-hole. Manuel said the move comes in hopes of adding more balance to his lineup.