MIAMI -- The Marlins acquired Minor League outfielder Justin Ruggiano from the Astros prior to Saturday's game against the Giants.
Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest announced the club acquired the outfielder in exchange for catcher Jobduan Morales, who has spent all season in extended Spring Training. Ruggiano has been assigned to Triple-A New Orleans, and may soon be joining the big league club.
Following Saturday's game, outfielder Kevin Mattison said he had been optioned back to Triple-A New Orleans, which leaves an open spot on the Marlins' bench.
Mattison was recalled Thursday to replace Austin Kearns, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain. During his three-game stint in Miami, Mattison went hitless in four at-bats.
It is the third time this season Mattison has been optioned to the Zephyrs, and while the move was not officially announced, it opens up the possibility of the Marlins acquiring Ruggiano's contract to add more depth -- and some Major League experience -- to an outfield that is already without Kearns and center fielder Emilio Bonifacio.
The 30-year-old Ruggiano, a right-handed batter, hit .325 (38-for-117) with five home runs and 29 RBIs in 39 games for Triple-A Oklahoma City this season. From 2007-11, Ruggiano appeared in 98 games in the big leagues with the Rays, hitting .226 with eight doubles, six homers and 23 RBIs while striking out 58 times.
Morales hit .275 (52-for-189) in 55 games between Class A Greensboro and Jamestown last season.
Tom Green is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.