Underrated Ruiz earns respect from teammates

ROB MAADDI AP Sports Writer Published:

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) -- A guy who didn't catch a game until he was 18 years old commands so much respect that even Roy Halladay won't shake him off.

That's not a misprint.

Carlos Ruiz squatted behind the plate for the first time in his late teens after originally signing with the Philadelphia Phillies as a second baseman out of Panama in 1998.

He sure mastered the art pretty quickly.

Affectionately nicknamed "Chooch" by teammates, Ruiz draws high praise from a star-studded pitching staff that features Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels.