Philadelphia Phillies will be without a star in opener once again

Drew Hallowell

For the third straight year, the Phillies will be without an important piece to start the season.

When the 2013 season starts up, the Philadelphia Phillies will be without another star.

But this time it's not injury related.

Philly.com's Bob Brookover notes that the Phillies will once again try to start a season off on a strong note without a big name. This time it's catcher Carlos Ruiz, who failed a drug test late last season for Adderall:

The Phillies, trying to rebound from a disappointing .500 season, will continue their traditional march to opening day without at least one of their best players. Two years ago. it was second baseman Chase Utley. Last season, it was Utley and first baseman Ryan Howard.

Now, it's at least Ruiz, and that's a surprise general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. could have done without. Among the many reasons the Phillies failed to win a sixth straight National League East title was Amaro's inability to adequately compensate for the absence of Utley and Howard at the start of last season.

Ruiz, who will miss most of April, will likely be replaced by Erik Kratz or Humberto Quintero in the lineup.

Kratz, 32, is a career minor leaguer who played in 50 games for the Phillies last season. He batted .248 with an .809 OPS and nine home runs.

Quintero, 33, was signed by the Phillies to a minor league deal Tuesday. He played 43 games for the Kansas City Royals last season. He batted .232 with a .598 OPS. He's considered more of a defensive-minded catcher.

The Phillies will likely miss Ruiz, 33, who has spent his entire seven-year MLB career in Philadelphia. Last season, Ruiz batted .325 with a .935 OPS in 114 games.

Ruiz has been heralded as a great defensive catcher and a solid game-caller. He caught a perfect game and a no-hitter, both from Roy Halladay, in 2010.

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