MIAMI -- The Phillies need right-handed bats, which seems to put Carlos Ruiz in a stronger negotiating position as a free agent.
Ruiz has hit .301 with 12 doubles, four home runs, 26 RBIs and an .823 OPS in 41 games since Aug. 2.
"We'd like to bring him back," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "He knows we'd like to bring him back. We'll see what happens. It wouldn't be the first free agent [we've had]. … I'd like to have as much balance [in the lineup] as we can, we haven't been very good against left-handers. It's well documented."
Said manager Ryne Sandberg: "The way he's performed, I would hope he'd be back. He's a right-handed bat. His status here, him being comfortable here, maybe the ball's in his corner and he could help with that decision. It could come down to that, where he wants to go.
"That's a big hole that needs to be filled. The sooner the better."
Rookie catcher Cameron Rupp started Tuesday against the Marlins. Not only do the Phillies need to find a starting catcher for next season, if Ruiz does not return, they will need to decide about their backup catcher.
Erik Kratz entered Tuesday hitting .205 with eight home runs, 23 RBIs and a .635 OPS in 66 games. He has hit .140 with one RBI and a .378 OPS since returning from knee surgery in July. Rupp is the top catcher on the organizational depth chart with Tommy Joseph missing most of the season with concussion issues.
"I think there is competition there, yes," Sandberg said. "As far as the whole catching situation, right now, there is a need of who it will be. … [Rupp's] arm plays better than I thought. He has some pop in the bat. Haven't seen a lot of at-bats, but contact would be key for him. He's just a strong, stocky kid. He's really built for the position. He's on the younger side of it. That is another thing in his favor."
Amaro hopes to have Halladay back healthy in 2014
MIAMI -- Ruben Amaro Jr. said pretty clearly Monday afternoon he would like to have Roy Halladay back in 2014.
Then Halladay threw just 16 pitches in the shortest start of his career, never breaking 83 mph with his fastball. Halladay said afterward he is suffering from "arm fatigue," a result of pushing too hard and pitching only three months removed from right shoulder surgery.
Halladay will not pitch again this season. The Phillies have not announced who will pitch in his place Saturday against the Braves at Turner Field.
Asked Tuesday afternoon at Marlins Park if Halladay's final start gave him pause, Amaro said, "He's been basically rehabbing for two years. For him to have come back and pitch, to try to compete -- that's big. Was it the right thing to do? I don't know that. But when a guy like Doc wants to come back and pitch, there's nothing medically that didn't jive … whether or not he was going to be effective, obviously he wasn't nearly as effective as he wanted to be or we wanted him to be. But he wanted to come back and pitch, and we gave him the baseball."
The Phillies have used the term "shared risk" when they talk about certain contracts. Chase Utley's two-year, $27-million extension is one example of that. If Utley stays healthy, he could make $75 million over five years. If not, the Phillies can move on after two seasons.
If the Phillies bring back Halladay a "shared risk" deal would be a requisite.
"I would think so," Amaro said. "You guys are a little ahead of me."
Halladay went 15-13 with a 5.15 ERA in 38 starts the past two seasons. He went 2-1 with a 4.55 ERA in six starts since his return from surgery, although he walked 19 and hit six in 27 2/3 innings. Everybody in the organization, including Halladay, said an offseason of rest and normal preparation for Spring Training will do wonders.
But how can the Phillies truly evaluate Halladay and know what to expect in the future?
"Hard to do," Amaro said. "Hard to do. We'll talk to our doctors and see where we go."
Cuban righty Gonzalez remains mystery to Sandberg
MIAMI -- Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez is the organization's No. 1 mystery man.
Only a handful of people have seen him pitch, but he almost certainly can be penciled into next season's rotation based upon the three-year, $12 million contract he signed. He is working out at the Carpenter Complex in Clearwater, Fla., although he is not expected to compete in the Florida instructional league.
"He's a mystery to me," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "Everything is based on scouting reports and what he has shown when he's pitching, and there's projections with that. Other than that, yeah, he'll be new to me other than a little bit of film and what the scouts say about him. They've been impressed as far as the ability to have a good chance to be in the starting rotation next year. Going into spring, we've got to see him firsthand."
Sandberg said he plans to visit Clearwater following the season, when he will get his first live look at Gonzalez.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.