09/06/09 6:53 PM ET
Ruiz sits after fifth-inning plunking
Pitch from Yankees reliever catches first baseman in cheek
By Larry Millson / Special to MLB.com
Ruiz, 31, getting a chance to play with the Blue Jays after a long and successful Minor League career and a short stint with the Twins last year, was hit on the left cheek by an 0-2 pitch from Josh Towers during the eight-run fifth inning of the Blue Jays' 14-8 victory over the Yankees.
After being tended to on the field, Ruiz was able to walk off under his power and later returned to watch the rest of the game from the bench. After 19 starts as a designated hitter, Ruiz made his first start as a first baseman for the Blue Jays on Sunday.
"It got me in the face," Ruiz said. "I thought it could be worse than it was. It's a little swollen right now, [but] I'll be in there [on Monday], hopefully. Some blood came out. At first, I thought it was my nose. But I'm fine.
"I think it got me square unless it got the end of the helmet, the ear flap. But I don't think so; it didn't look like it. It got face, though. Something like this is scary, but it's part of the game. I don't think he did it on purpose."
"It's just unfortunate," Towers said. "I was trying to elevate a fastball [at ]0-2, because we threw a couple of sliders to him, and I think he was looking away. It was a bad situation for everyone.
"I was talking to Tex [first baseman Mark Teixeira] about it after it happened. I told him [that] after it happened, it was hard for me to go inside to righties, even being aware that I still cut the ball going inside, because I was conscious of what happened and I didn't want that to happen again. Unfortunately, it's just one of those things that you've got to put behind you."
"That's scary," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It was good to see [Ruiz] get up and walk off. Any time you get hit like that, it's scary. You don't ever want to see it. I hope that he's OK, and that he's able to play and get right back out there."
Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston went out with the club's medical staff when Ruiz was down.
"You just hope he's going to be OK, and it's not something serious that could end his career," Gaston said. "Because he had his hand up around his eye when I got out there, and I was thinking, 'Man, I hope he's OK.' He's trying to establish himself and play in the big leagues for a while. You hate to see that happen to him."
Ruiz earned his second RBI of the inning the hard way, because the bases were loaded when he was hit; in his first at-bat of the frame, he singled in a run. He is batting .296 with six home runs and 11 RBIs in 20 games.
Larry Millson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.