On the first day of his professional career in the Dominican, Ruiz couldn't even catch a popup. During one of the early drills on that first day, a coach hit soaring popups into the bright Caribbean sky. Ruiz spun around and fell backward, and the ball ended up on the ground.
The ball had seemed so impossible for Ruiz to spot. It had appeared to bend in directions he had never seen. As an infielder, he could easily read the spin on the ball. But when it came from such an awkward angle, Ruiz was lost. It was easy to be discouraged because the task seemed so impossible.
We learn a lot about Chooch's friendship with Phillies bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer, who learned Spanish to help Ruiz learn the catching position over a decade ago. The whole thing, of the must-read variety… here.