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Ruggiano: 'I just try to make sure every pitch counts'

With his team struggling through a 4-15 June swoon, one might imagine it would be hard to get Ozzie Guillen to say something complimentary about one of his players at the moment. 

Justin Ruggiano
Justin Ruggiano is 12 for 36 with 10 extra-base hits since being acquired in a trade with the Astros on May 26.

But the Marlins manager does like what he's seeing from at least one guy -- Justin Ruggiano. The 30-year old veteran outfielder, who spent most of his career in the Rays farm system, has played well for the Marlins since being acquired in a minor league trade with Houston on May 26.

 

"I love this kid [from] the way he put on his uniform on down," Guillen said. "He does a lot of things. He has great speed, pretty good defensively. Got great at-bats, fights for his at-bats everytime we give him the opportunity. As long as you do that, you will play for me. I don't care if you're 0-for-4, as long as I see you're fighting for your at-bats and fighting for your situation, I think you'll have a great chance to play for me."

In the 18 games he's played for the Marlins, Ruggiano has started eight of them. He'll start his ninth game for the Marlins today against the Rays. So far, he's hitting .333 (10 for 36) with seven doubles, a triple, two homers, 6 RBI, 6 walks and 6 strikeouts in 36 at-bats. 

As far as fighting for his at-bats, Ruggiano displayed that well in the sixth inning of Friday's 12-5 loss to Toronto. He fouled off four pitches against Ricky Romero before drawing a walk. Omar Infante then followed Ruggiano up by blasting a two-run home run. 

Ruggiano said for fighting for at-bats -- by cutting down on his swing and just trying to make contact -- hasn't always been his thing.

"I used to give away a lot of at-bats," said Ruggiano, who in three big league stints in Tampa Bay hit just .226 with 58 strikeouts in 195 at-bats. 

"I think in the Rays system, strikeouts are kind of frowned upon. It was something [general manager Andrew Friedman] wanted me to focus on reducing [back in 2008]. For the longest time I couldn't figure out how. It was frustrating. I think I came up with a pretty good idea of what works for me and how to stay on the ball longer.

"I just try to make sure every pitch counts. I don't want to let a fastball go by, that's for sure. Over the last couple years I've also learned to stay in my zone a little bit better instead of chasing. It comes with experience. I've played winter ball the last couple years just to get those at-bats. The more at-bats, the more pitches you see, the easier it becomes to stay in your zone. As much minor league time as I've had, you better believe I'm going to make every at-bat here count. It's longer days down there that's for sure. I want to be able to sleep at night knowing I gave 100 percent effort, every pitch, every at-bat."

When it comes to looking at strikes go by them, the Marlins rank second-worst in the National League at 31 percent (only the Mets at 32 percent are worse). The league average is 28 percent.

GUILLEN RANTS ABOUT SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY

I'm still not sure how a question about how losing 12-5 instead of 2-1 games got Guillen to go where he went last night, but it's obvious he's not a fan of sports psychologists.

"Psych? I don’t believe in psych,” Guillen said. “I just believe in good clubs. Great players don’t need psychiatric and psyche and shrinks. H——– players do. I never see Pete Rose talking to any psychiatry or Paul Molitor or all those guys. They were talking to nobody. All the h——– players they need a psych, a guy next to them to talk about it. The last five years, seven years, you see a lot of this in baseball.

“When players fail they need a doctor. When managers and coaches fail, they need another manager. They get rid of our a–, quick. Players are making excuse, talking to the shrink every day. How about the shrink when they are 4-for-4? They only got the shrink when they fail. I don’t believe in that. If some people do, good for them. I grew up in the good era of baseball when Budweiser and vodka take care of the psychiatric thing. That’s the best thing to do. You fail, get drunk and come back the next day and you see how good it feels.

“It’s a funny thing because most of the psycho guys and the doctors, they never played this game. They never come out of a slump. How is that going to help you? If that works for somebody, I need one right now. What I should do to get this ball club going? If that works, I will pay any kind of money to tell me.

“You play this game, it’s a long season. Whoever is tough mentally and physically, that’s the guy who’s going to finish in the top.” 

SATURDAY'S LINEUPS

> Blue Jays (36-34): 1. Brett Lawrie 3B, 2. Colby Rasmus CF, 3. Jose Bautista RF, 4. Edwin Encarnacion 1B, 5. Kelly Johnson 2B, 6. Yunel Escobar SS, 7. Rajai Davis LF, 8. Jeff Mathis C, 9. Brett Cecil LHP.

> Marlins (33-37): 1. Jose Reyes SS, 2. Hanley Ramirez 3B, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Logan Morrison LF, 5. Justin Ruggiano CF, 6. Omar Infante 2B, 7. Gaby Sanchez 1B, 8. Brett Hayes C, 9. Josh Johnson RHP.

 

Comments

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Flagstafffishfan

More proof that Ozzie is an idiot. Clearly there is a psychological component when it comes to this slump whether Dr. Oz believes it or not. A sports psychologist is EXACTLY what this team could use. But hey that's a new approach to the modern athlete, why would the kid from the streets of Venezuela seek an educated doctor of sports psychology advice? Even the owner sought a more PSYCHOLOGICAL approach to his teams losing. These guys didn't forget how to hit or catch or pitch....i really feel that they have placed so much pressure on themselves to perform that they have forgotten how to win. A sports psychologist couldn't hurt Ozzie...if you could only open up your closed simple mind maybe you'd see cuz YOUR PSYCHOLOGY that you've been using isn't f ing working fool.

Stan M

A few words about age. When I was a boy, if a team signed a young kid, they had him for life because of the reserve clause. During the steroid era, players could play until their mid to late 30s. Now players begin to decline before 35. My point is with arbitration and later free agency, young playes become too expensive in about 4 years and often move on. So what about a guy like Ruggiano? In 4 years it will be time to let him go too. Same as a kid. So in my opinion, age isn't nearly as important as it used to be. If you bring up a player in his late 20s you can control him through his late prime and have him for just as long as a young kid in his early 20s. Therefore, as I see it, career AAAA players and major leaguers pushing 30 could be much more important than they were in the past. That is, as long as you don't give them 45 year contracts!

Nacional

How Many men left on This. When is Ozzie going to squeeze.

Scott Pose

Flag, Going to Atlanta for 4 days. Will communicate when I get back.Came in just in time for the bunting clinic. Will see Seinfield at a SHRM Conference on tuesday and the Diamondbacks on tuesday night. Should I hold up a "Hi Flags" sign?? Oh!!!Now I'm watching The Class Clown--Edwin Mujica. What is the record for most hits on consecutive pitches??

Scott Pose

I agree with Oz. the Marlins don't need psychiatric help because I'm thinking they don't really have the intellectual acumen or maturity to relate to any type of mental health intervention. You can't really prescripe psychotropic meds because that might make them more comatose. You going to look into Hanley's eyes and see anything there.

I'm holding up that "Flags" sign. I'll tell you where we'll be sitting.

Joe the Bartender

Where was Heath Bell in the 9th? At the Clevelander ready to serve Ozzie his 7 Presidentes.

Scott Pose

Flags, I've been thinking about what you said. I have had Ozzie's back but that latest commentary just reflects an ignorance that is monumental.Now you usually don't criticize ignorance because it is defensible to some extent but then when you compound ignorance with vitriol and nearly practiced whackiness about the bourbon and the other crap, well???I'm telling you--The Marlins on Showtime may become the highest rated show on cable.

Tommy Bahama still bemoaning the last loss in Boston as a "game changer", how about Beinfest, penurious ownership, bad scouting and head cases being a game changer.

Flav C

I don't know but either this is Ozzie's way to give the middle finger to Miami and the FO after the Fidel incident....or this is the players' way to give Ozzie the middle finger. I understand this is not a great team, but they are not that horrendous to be spanked they way they've been spanked. There's much more to it that we don't know.
I'd love to see the ballpark completely empty and they announce 15,000 attendance.

Joe the Bartender

Ozzie is inviting eveybody to the Clevelander after todays game for a Beer -Chugging Contest

Scott Pose

Flav, I agree about the ballpark. They will have to hit rock bottom with under 10,000 attendance in a NEW park,they will need to win about 55, there will have to be a meltdown captured on the cable show, and some national exposure of the cesspoll and that might engender some change. I really want them to tank after that Guillen comment. I want their noses rubbed in it and I want this whole thing to start being mentioned on Leno and Letterman.

let's Get It Done!!

Scott Pose

Look at poor Jeff. His expression resembles that of the 63rd person in line to use a Porta Potty on July 4.however, I do believe he has the cred and reputation to be able to start getting real aggressive. They ain't terminating Mister Marlin.

Jeff, Step Up!! You have guts and you have character. You know this is unacceptable. Verbalize It!!

Joe the Bartender

After Ozzie's Beer Chugging Contest , Loria will give an inspirational message to the team, followed by a Wet T-Shirt contest with the dancers. Whoever got a hit in todays game will be the judges. What a Ballpark!

MLB.com

Marlins clubhouse is closed for team meeting. What's next?

Scott Pose

Was Ozzie on in the post game? I know he's getting close to losing it. He has had good teams. This is galling him. If he sings the praises of Hugo Caesar Chavez tomorrow, we will know he is trying to get out of town.

Joe, are you close enough to the Marlins'bullpen to give a shoutout to Mujica? i'm still a couple of weeks away from touchdown. By the time I get there the Clevelander dancers will be doing the Polka and the Minuet.

Joe, Have you contemplated that we will only be there about 5 minutes if we are anywhere near anyone in the marlins organization. i NEVER use profanity or mention ANYTHING about anyone's family but i guarantee we still get the boot relatively quickly.

Joe the Bartender

waiting for the team meeting to end..

Flagstafffishfan

It's time for the season ticket holders, corporate sponsors, and every fan that cares to demand an immediate change at some level. I would be very nervous if I were Cholula's hot sauce! Lol...how much did that cost them in advertising and you know that Sampson promised a much fuller park than what were seeing and good tv ratings. Thaws numbers are shrinking. The disinterest is coming and in their Inaugural Year for The Miami Marlins, it will be remembered as an epic epic fail. You know that Fredi, Edwin, Joe, John would have all been on the hot seat for these performances but Ozzie is immune. Both Randy St Claire and Eddy should be an immediate casualty. Scott I'll be looking for the sign!

Flav is totally right about there being much much more to this story behind the scenes. I think the players absolutely hate Ozzie Guillen and either ownership doesn't care or they are too afraid to speak to the FO about it. It's sad to watch this happen as I think we all support these guys. I find my sympathies suddenly with the players....there's more to this mess...it's just who's gonna break this story? Clark, Yahoo, a player or insider? There's a rift somewhere for sure and it needs repair in one way or another.

Scott Pose

What's next?? They are going to call in Captain Kirk to try to enter a time warp where they will go back to 2003 and sign some players who make the Big Leagues and have a somewhat productive career.

They Can't Play!!!! What the Hell is a meeting going to do except give Showtime some really good footage of Ozzie cursing in Spanish and 25 other guys rolling their eyes.

Flagstafffishfan

Everyone get Showtime! It's gonna be great. Who will the villain be?

Stan M

Stopped watching 2 games ago. Happened to tune in for ninth inning today. A mistake. The Clevelander will draw more fans than the ballclub before long. It's so bad it's almost funny. That is, if you're not a Marlinns fan. Ugh!

To Hell With David Samson

Worst franchise in all of sports.
Bar none.
We tore down the Orange Bowl for THIS?
Screw them all.

Joe the Bartender

No biggie...just your run of the mill players only meeting....Time to party with Ozzie at the Clevelander

Joe the Bartender

Ozzie will hold a Salsa Contest after the Wet T-Shirt Contest. Winners get to make out the line-up card for tomorrows game. What a Ballpark!

Joe the Bartender

Ozzie says he looks like Obama, having a freakin meeting everyday. Take it easy Ozzie. Whats that? No Presdente's tonite? Strictly Double Vodkas? You got it,man.

L. Markowski

How long will the Marlins management tolerate Ozzie and his embarrassing comments? He is not a leader! He is a bully! He doesn't get respect from his players because he doesn't give it. He has those guys so tense and frustrated when they come to the plate that they are not hitting the ball. They need someone who can be supportive yet firm and help them to break out of the slump.
Who knows the Marlins better than Jeff Conine?. He is the type of person who would be a supportive leader who could get the Fish back on track. He has the intelligence to anticipate what will happen in a game and adjust the lineup accordingly much like Joe Maddon does in Tampa Bay!

Alex

Well, at least I have been CONSISTENT in my comments about this team. Way back in MAY, when this team was winning games, I tried to raise the red flags that I saw. The lack of hitting by anyone not named Stanton, the hitting coach who obviously isn't doing his job, the crazy line ups, the guys playing out of position, all of it.

The front office had SIX FREAKING YEARS to get ready for 2012. They pocketed money that was supposed to be for PAYROLL and blew a chance to make the playoffs in 2008 & 2009 because they SAID they were saving the money for 2012.

I got attacked by the powers that be at the MLB site for saying this Front Office was crazy to count on Hanley returning to form, and that they spent their money unwisely.

It's ok. I don't work for the Front Office. I don't have a bunch of guys hanging on my every word as I post. I am not LOVED and ADMIRED here and that is 100% fine with me because I didn't come here for those things. I'm just a 56 year old guy who has seen a LOT OF BASEBALL and looking at this team, I saw a lot of problems and I posted about what I saw. Now this team is doing a crash and burn that I WISH I could say was unprecedented, except it's not. We saw this EXACT SAME MOVIE LAST YEAR.

But hey, who cares what I say? I don't know anything, right? I ain't no "INSIDER" after all. I'm just an old guy that real baseball GENIUSES like Joe "The Shill" Frisaro calls a "raving nut job". LMFAO!!! Hey Frisaro, I will be watching you! Let's see you pretty up THIS PIG with lipstick!

Alex

As for Ruggiano, F**k YOU, Ozzie, you moron! You kept that kid on the bench while playing Coghlan, Dobbs, Kearns, and anyone with a pulse in the outfield. I saw the way that kid APPROACHED the game immediately and have been saying for weeks that he should be playing. And now Ozzie has the balls to say how much he likes the kid. Too funny.

Joe the Bartender

Frisaro says heads are spinning right now, rolling could be next. Thomas Boswell has renamed the Marlins, calling them the Dogfish now.

Alex

Anyone looking for Good News? Here ya go:

Josh Johnson ONCE AGAIN has stepped up and pitched like an ACE. I am very proud of that kid and the way he has battled and learned to pitch this year despite diminished velocity on his fastball. The ONLY Marlins pitcher that is pulling his weight is JJ, and he DESERVES our kudos. JJ is showing us all who the REAL Ace of our pitching staff is.

Too bad that Anibal Sanchez and Ricky Nolasco ONCE AGAIN fell apart in June, the same exact way they did last year. Ricky, I can understand. He was never more than a #4 or #5 starter, but Anibal was supposed to be a true #2, maybe even an Ace in the making. But no. He has Ace stuff, but he does not have the HEART OF AN ACE. When the chips are down and the team needs him the most, he FOLDS like a cheap suit.

Only Josh Johnson has pitched like an ACE during this terrible June: his ERA is 2.18 for the month. Shall I repeat that for ANYONE? Josh Johnson's ERA is 2.18 for the month of June. I believe the case is CLOSED about who the true Ace Pitcher is on this team. He has had about 2 or three bad starts ALL YEAR, all of them early this season when he was still learning how to PITCH, rather than THROW. See, that's what you gotta do when you can no longer hit 97 on the gun. He's learning quite well. Hopefully he will be the Main Man on this pitching staff someday, when they finally GET SOME DECENT PLAYERS & COACHES AROUND HIM.

Trader Jack

Marlins will be so buried by the trading deadline,trading will be a mute point.

Alex

Joe Frisaro is the Marlins team propaganda writer for the MLB website. Do you guys ever read any of the laughable garbage that he writes? I mean today he's got this article about Ruggiano and how he's "getting more playing time". Really? The real story is why is that kid sitting on the bench most of the time? A real baseball writer would write about how Ozzie stupidly played Coghlan, Kearns, Dobbs, and Lomo in the OF for so many games and kept Ruggiano on the bench.

But he is not a real baseball writer, he's the mouthpiece for Loria & Samson. It's his job to lie to us and to say that everything is just hunky dory.

Flav C

Alex,
This pig is so ugly that not even Frisaro and tons of lipstick will make it look better.
I was a believer and I know you were too. But you are absolutely right. It is impossible to believe in this team. No guts, no fire, no nothing.

Ruggiano is the only one playing as if it was spring training and he was looking for a spot in the roster. He gives it all every day.

JJ, we got to feel sorry for him. Not a lot, because he is a millionaire. But sorry because in a better team, he probably would be a 19-10, 20-10 type of pitcher.

Alex

I'm glad we are starting to agree with each other more and more, Flav. But I wish it were happening because the team was going great guns and we both liked what we saw. Instead we are agreeing because we both HATE what we see, and that sucks.

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