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Giants’ latest flier: ex-MLBer who became star in Asia

Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

For Giants fans concerned this season will be Ruf, their suspicions are confirmed.

San Francisco and former Phillies first baseman/left fielder Darin Ruf agreed on a minor league deal with an invite to major league camp, The Athletic reported on Thursday. With his ability — at least formerly — to play corner infield and corner outfield, the Giants’ latest flier should fit right in. Although he’ll stick out in other ways.

Ruf, 33, has not played in the majors since 2016, spending the last three seasons in the Korean Baseball Organization, in which he was a star. He played at least 130 games each season and combined to slash .313/.404/.564 with 86 home runs. The Giants are hoping that can translate back to stateside.

Ruf played parts of five seasons in Philadelphia, showing a bit of pop — 35 homers in 833 plate appearances — but not enough to stick.

The Giants have an uninspiring crowd behind Brandon Belt at first, where lefty Chris Shaw, catcher Aramis Garcia, perhaps utilityman Austin Slater and even Buster Posey, with Joey Bart rising, serving as potential options. Ruf, who helpfully is righty, is one more.


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