Ruiz 'devastated' by death of Halladay

Former Phillies batterymate caught Doc's no-hitter, perfect game

Ruiz 'devastated' by death of Halladay

SEATTLE -- Carlos Ruiz, the catcher behind the plate for Roy Halladay's perfect game in 2010 with the Phillies and his no-hitter in that year's postseason, was caught off-guard like the rest of the baseball world on Tuesday by word of his former teammate Halladay's death in a plane crash off the coast of Florida.

"Chooch" Ruiz, who just became a free agent after spending last season with the Mariners, was a big part of the success Halladay had during the final four years of his career in Philadelphia.

"When I got the phone call and heard the news about Roy, I was truly devastated," Ruiz said in a statement released by his agent, Marc Kligman, on Tuesday evening. "Roy was one of the greatest pitchers I ever caught, and an even better person and friend."

Ruiz, 38, caught 80 of Halladay's starts with the Phillies from 2010-13, the most of any catcher during Halladay's career. Halladay won his second Cy Young Award in 2010, and earned the final two of his eight career All-Star appearances in '10 and '11.

Halladay and Ruiz hooked up in the 2010 National League Division Series to no-hit the Reds, with only a fifth-inning walk preventing Halladay from joining Don Larsen as the only pitcher to throw a perfect game in the postseason. Those two are still the only pitchers with no-hitters in the postseason.

Earlier that year, on May 29 in Miami, Halladay threw the 20th perfect game in MLB history, striking out 11.

When Ruiz returned to Philadelphia with the Mariners last August, Halladay told CSNPhilly.com that Ruiz was the best catcher he threw to in his 16-year career, which started with 12 seasons in Toronto.

"'Chooch' was the little engine that could for a team loaded with big names," Halladay said at the time. "But no player was more valuable to the team as a whole than Carlos. He was so humble and grateful, you couldn't help but just want to do anything for him, including win."

Those feelings were mutual, as Ruiz relayed on Tuesday following the news of Halladay's death at age 40.

"I wanted to win more for him than myself," Ruiz said. "I will miss him very much. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones and all those, like me, who truly admired him."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.