Richie Ashburn is probably smiling somewhere. The Tilden, Neb. native would be proud to know that three fellow Huskers inhabit the Phillies’ clubhouse.
There’s starter Tyler Cloyd and power-hitting phenom Darin Ruf, who terrorized Double-A pitching.
“It is pretty awesome,” Ruf said. “There is definitely a connection between us.”
Cloyd and Ruf went to the same high school in Omaha. It’s hard to believe that Cloyd, who looks like he’s a decade older than the 26-year-old Ruf, is a year younger than his pal from the hood.
“We didn’t spend a lot of time with each other [in high school],” Ruf said. “That’s the year difference, but now we’re here and it’s great to be not only up here but to be on the same team with him and Jake [Diekman].”
Ruf has been schooled about some of the franchise’s greatest players. He has heard about Ashburn and Elba, Neb. native Grover Cleveland Alexander’s exploits.
“It’s cool that’s the history,” Ruf said. “I want to be part of that and to add to that history.”
So far, Ruf hasn’t had much of a chance to show the Phillies his raw power. Ruf has pinch hit twice without success since being called up two weeks ago.
“I’m a patient guy,” Ruf said. “I’m glad to be up here and I’ll wait until I get my chance.”
Until then Ruf can hang out with his pals.
“You learn a lot up here,” Ruf said. “I know Tyler is learning a lot. Jake has been up here and he is soaking it all in. It’s an amazing opportunity for all of us. But this is what it’s all about. We worked hard growing up [on the fields in Nebraska] and we’re all still working hard. We’ll show you that [Nebraska] work ethic.”