By Fred J. Robledo, SGVN
Bishop Amat standout infielder Rio Ruiz rested comfortably over the weekend at USC Medical Center after undergoing a procedure on Friday to break up a blood clot in a vein near his clavicle in his right shoulder, his father Rudy Ruiz explained on Monday.
Several friends, teammates and family stopped to visit Ruiz since having the procedure, including South Hills standouts and longtime friends C.J. Saylor and Ty France.
Ruiz, a senior, could be released from the hospital as soon as today and his father said it could be two to three weeks before he is able to rejoin the Lancers’ baseball team, who defeated Loyola 3-2 on Saturday in the RJs Foundation game at Bishop Amat.
Ruiz was ESPN’s California junior of the year and also is the reigning Tribune and CIF-Southern Section Division 4 most valuable player after leading the Lancers to a divisional title last season.
“He might be back sooner, it might be longer, it depends on the comfort level of his arm,” Rudy Ruiz said. (To continue click thread).
Ruiz, a third baseman and closer, had stopped pitching the last couple weeks and was limited to pinch hitting after nursing what he thought was a bicep strain in his right arm.
After visiting a physician, he learned of the blood clot and had the procedure. He’ll take blood-thinning medication to treat it while he recovers.
“From what I understand this type of (blood clot) is common with swimmers and pitchers because of the repetitive motion,” Rudy Ruiz said. “In a way we’re very relieved because there was nothing structurally wrong, there was no ligament damage, and it’s nothing that that will affect his long-term health.
“He had every part of his arm and neck (scoped) and everything looked great. He’s going to be fine.”
Once the initial scare and procedure was over with, Rudy Ruiz said it didn’t take long for the smile to return.
“Rio’s in good spirits. He’s laughing, joking and loving the attention from nurses,” his father joked. “He’s relieved it’s nothing life threatening or career threatening. He’s going to have to deal with it and take medication for a few months and when his body feels up to it, he’ll rejoin his teammates. It’s killing him to not be out there with his guys.”
Ruiz, who signed a national letter of intent with USC after giving a verbal commitment his freshman year, is also a potential high-round pick in June’s Major League Baseball Draft.
Ruiz has been on several U.S. National age-group teams and Baseball America listed him as one of the top 100 high school prospects in the country.
Rudy Ruiz said he received a lot of phone calls from concerned scouts since news of Ruiz’s procedure broke Friday.
Although Ruiz’s procedure isn’t expected to pose long-term health issues, Rudy admits he doesn’t know how it will affect his draft status.
“It doesn’t matter,” Rudy Ruiz said. “If they (scouts) get scared off, they get scared off, people are human beings. These kids are not immortal.
“I’m a parent, all that concerns me is the health of my son. The rest of that stuff will take care of itself in due time. When he’s ready to play ball again, he’ll play ball.”
Whenever Ruiz returns, he is not expected to pitch the rest of the season, coach Andy Nieto said.
“Looking at the big picture I’m not going to sacrifice the kids health for the almighty win,” Nieto said. “I’d love to have him in the middle of the line-up, but until we’re given the green light and he’s given the green light by doctors, we’ll circle the wagons and wait patiently.”
Bishop Amat is scheduled to participate in the prestigious National Classic in Fullerton April 9-12. The Lancers are the defending champions and have won four straight to improve to 5-5 after a horrendous 1-5 start.
“As much as we miss him (Ruiz), I’m proud of how our guys have responded,” Nieto said. “They have taken on the roll of ‘I can be that guy today.’
“The last four games there has been a different hero. That’s a testament to our kids. Until Rio gets back, it’s all hands on deck.”