After impressing off bench, Ruggiano gets start

After impressing off bench, Ruggiano gets start

After impressing off bench, Ruggiano gets start
PHILADELPHIA -- A pinch-hit home run in the eighth inning, followed up by a single in the ninth inning on Friday night has earned Justin Ruggiano a closer look.

The Marlins acquired Ruggiano from the Astros in a Minor League trade on May 25, and the 30-year-old was immediately promoted to the big leagues. He chipped in with two hits in Friday's 6-4 loss against the Phillies.

On Saturday, Ruggiano made his first start with the Marlins, playing left field. But he can also play right field, which gives manager Ozzie Guillen an option when Giancarlo Stanton needs a day off.

"I like the kid, Ruggiano," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "He might be getting more playing time. I like the way he is swinging the bat. I like the way he's running the bases. He's a pretty good athlete. You might see him against righties, too."

In the past, Ruggiano played in the Rays' system. He was drafted in the 25th round by the Dodgers in 2004, and in '06, he was sent to Tampa Bay along with Jae Seo and Dioner Navarro for Mark Hendrickson and Toby Hall.

"I like his approach," Guillen said. "We might see him a little more in left field and right field, if Stanton needs a day off.

"If you play for Tampa Bay, under that manager, [Joe] Maddon, you know how to play the game. We've seen him in the past. I think this kid has a great idea at the plate. I like what I see."

Ruggiano projects to play in left field against lefties. But he also could get playing time against right-handers, as well.

"I figured that was kind of my role to face lefties here," Ruggiano said. "I kind of expected it. It was nice to know ahead of time to kind of prepare and relax."