A Bronx native, Randy Ruiz was taken by the Mets in the 36th round of the draft out of high school, but instead chose to play baseball at Bellevue University, the previous year’s winner of the NAIA World Series. He led the team in home runs in 1999, was subsequently signed by the Reds as a non-drafted free agent, and spent the next nine seasons toiling in the minors for seven different organizations.
Signed by the Twins as a minor league free agent in the offseason heading into 2008, Ruiz made his MLB debut on August 1 of that year when fellow former Twin Craig Monroe was designated for assignment. In his first game, he went 1-3 as the designated hitter in a 4-1 victory over Cleveland, leaving the Twins 61-48 and tied with the White Sox for the Central lead.
Last we saw him…
Ruiz struck out as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning of the following game, then went on a seven-game hitting streak and finished the month hitless in just one of the games in which he started. When Michael Cuddyer finally returned after missing a month due to a broken foot suffered during a rehab assignment with AAA Rochester, Ruiz had just three more plate appearances the rest of the season. The Twins finished the 2008 season with a one-game playoff loss to Chicago.
What he’s been up to since
The Twins released Ruiz in December of that year, and Toronto signed him to a minor-league deal two weeks later. He began the season with the AAA Las Vegas 45s, and proceeded to hit .320 with 25 home runs and 43 doubles, earning the PCL MVP and an August call up to the Blue Jays when Alex Rios was claimed off waivers by the White Sox. He hit home runs in his first two games up, and finished his MLB season with 10 in 33 games. The following season, Ruiz made Toronto’s 25-man roster out of spring training, but got just 40 at bats before being asking for and receiving his release in May in order to sign a more lucrative contract with the Tohoku Rakuten Eagles of the JPPL.
Ruiz spent the rest of 2010 and all of 2011 with the Eagles, then returned last year to play stateside in AAA for the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. Again, Ruiz left the US midway through the season to play in Japan, this time with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars of the Japan Central League.
Once again, Ruiz returned to the United States to begin the season, only to find himself playing in a foreign league. The White Sox signed Ruiz this spring, and he hit a double in his lone spring training at bat before being released a week before the season began. This time, instead of playing out the season in Japan, Ruiz has recently shown up in Mexico with Veracruz. In what is basically AAA ball, the 35-year-old is hitting .333/.489/.636 through 11 games on the season.