PHILADELPHIA -- Carlos Ruiz has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball the past two months.
He entered Wednesday's series finale against the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park, when he caught and hit fourth, with an .896 OPS since July 29, which ranks 22nd out of 171 qualifying hitters in the Majors. He is hitting .556 (15-for-26) with six doubles and 21 RBIs with runners in scoring position since Aug. 8, which is the best mark in baseball in that stretch.
"I think he's just confident," Phillies interim manager Ryne Sandberg said. "I think he's confident with where he's at and he's swinging a hot bat. He just continues to come up with guys on base and right now, that's his knack and what he's hot doing. He continues to have his opportunities and he's the right guy up there in those situations."
Ruiz went 0-for-4 with a walk in Wednesday's 4-3 loss to the Marlins in 10 innings.
Kendrick hoping to make final two starts
PHILADELPHIA -- Kyle Kendrick's right shoulder seems to be fine, which certainly is good news for the Phillies.
He had a MRI exam on Tuesday following five weeks of discomfort, but he said Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park he hopes to make his final two starts of the season. Kendrick was scheduled to pitch Wednesday, but the Phillies scratched him for precautionary reasons. Zach Miner started in his place, and pitched three scoreless innings in Wednesday's 4-3 loss to the Marlins in 10 innings, giving up two hits and two walks with two strikeouts.
"It was to the point where I wanted to get it checked out, because it wasn't going away," Kendrick said. "It put my mind at ease. Hopefully, I'll feel better tomorrow and play some light catch Friday. … Some tendinitis. A little bit of fraying, but nothing crazy. Nothing most pitchers don't have."
Kendrick is 3-9 with a 6.45 ERA in 14 starts since late June. Before that, he was 16-14 with a 3.50 ERA in a 40-start stretch.
"I definitely haven't felt 100 percent," he said. "Usually, in the past, I've felt pretty good. I'm not going to make excuses, but I didn't feel good. I'll just tell you that. Hopefully with this rest and knowing what it is, it can help me out a little bit."
Kendrick's struggles come at a bad time. He is eligible for salary arbitration after the season, and his recent struggles could cost him.
"It's obviously frustrating," he said. "You want to pitch well every time you're out there. My second half is not what I've wanted, what the organization wanted, nor what the fans wanted. But it's a game, and the guys I'm facing are trying to do well also. The main thing is my health right now, knowing where it's at. And that's good. Hopefully I can get those two more starts and finish strong."
Halladay appears more trimmed down
PHILADELPHIA -- Roy Halladay looks noticeably lighter than he has been in the past.
He said he lost eight to 10 pounds recently because of an illness, but also has dropped weight because of the conditioning program he began almost immediately following right shoulder surgery in May.
"I had a time where I wasn't pitching and my only job was to work out," he said. "I think that has a lot to do with it. When I was down in Florida and rehabbing, all we did was run and lift."
Halladay, who is listed at 225 pounds, said he would like to be five to six pounds heavier entering Spring Training.
"But as far as conditioning level, I've never felt better," he said. "I want to be able to maintain that feeling. But I do feel like a couple extra pounds would definitely help on the durability end."
Utley honored for community service
PHILADELPHIA -- Before Wednesday's game against the Marlins, the Phillies honored Chase Utley, who received the Phillies' Community Outreach Award and is the team's nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award in recognition of his charitable and community service work.
Since 2008, Utley and his wife Jen have held their annual Utley All-Star Animals Night to raise funds for Pennsylvania SPCA. They have raised nearly $2 million since, including $400,000 at this year's event.
They also founded The Utley Foundation to bring awareness to the increasing epidemic of animal cruelty and to educate the public, and in particular children, about the proper treatment of animals.
Utley has also spent $20,000 each year to purchase season tickets that he donates to the children and families at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
"I am honored to be the 2013 Phillies' Roberto Clemente Award nominee," Utley said before hitting a two-run single in Wednesday's 4-3 loss to the Marlins in 10 innings to give him 14 RBIs in his last seven games. "When I think about the man named for this award and all he stood for, I am humbled to even be considered. I hope that the work done through The Utley Foundation can continue the tradition of ballplayers giving back to the community for many years to come."
The Phillies also honored their Minor League Step-Up Community Service Award winners, given to players who have shown leadership in community service. The winners included: Triple-A Lehigh Valley right-hander David Buchanan, Double-A right-hander Tyler Knigge, Class A Clearwater outfielder Cameron Perkins, Class A Lakewood infielder Arthur Charles, Class A Williamsport infielder Andrew Pullin and Gulf Coast League Phillies outfielder Johnathan Knight.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.