Philadelphia Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz helped save the lives of two of his childhood friends after their fishing boat capsized in Panama, Jeffrey Eisenband of The Postgame reports.
According to Eisenband, the veteran catcher returned to his Philadelphia home Saturday night following the Phillies’ 5-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers when he learned of the incident.
“I came back to my house and my brother (Samy) was knocking on the door real hard,” Ruiz told ThePostGame. “I was thinking something bad happened. I opened the door, and he looked at me and asked if I knew what happened in Panama. I asked if something happened with Mama.”
The news did not involve his mother, but rather three of Ruiz’s best friends from his native Panama — Blas Pitti, Walter Dubarran and Jose Mercedes Rodriguez. Pitti was rescued shortly after the boat overturned, but the other two remained missing, so Ruiz wasted no time hiring boats, helicopters and airplanes to search for them.
Ruiz’s efforts paid off, and after 35-40 hours of being lost in the water, Dubarran and Rodriguez were found.
“We didn’t know if something was going to happen to them. I’m so happy they are OK. Now I can get back to the field.”
In addition to funding the rescue teams, Ruiz also paid for his friends’ medical treatment. All three men are in stable condition, according to the report.
“The first thing I did was I prayed to God and said thank you and wow,” Ruiz says after getting the news. “When I came into my house, I got a hug from my brother, my wife and my little kid. It was grand. I was so happy.”
Photo via Twitter/@lehighvalleypa