NEW YORK -- If not for a brain lapse by Jose Reyes, Justin Ruggiano would be playing this afternoon against the Mets. Instead, Ruggiano is out indefinitely with a sprained right shoulder and, along with injuries to Giancarlo Stanton (side strain) and Austin Kearns (back), are down to only two position players on the bench: emergency call-up Scott Cousins and catcher Rob Brantly. Manager Ozzie Guillen does not have a right-handed hitting position player on his bench this afternoon.
It all started in last night's sixth inning after Daniel Murphy opened the frame by striking out, but reaching on Brantly's passed ball. After Murphy advanced to second on David Wright's ground out, Ike Davis lined to Reyes at short. With Murphy breaking for third, an inning-ending double play appeared in order. But Reyes thought that there were two outs, and instead of flipping to Donovan Solano at second to double up Murphy, held on to the ball. Inning over. Or so Reyes thought.
"I thought there were two outs," Reyes explained Saturday. "That was an easy double play there. When I saw Solano running to (cover) second base, I said 'Oh man. Oops.'"
Murphy made it back to second and, one batter later, Scott Hairston tripled to left. Ruggiano made a diving attempt on the ball and, in the process, injured his shoulder. While he said he expects to play before the end of the season, there is no guarantee of that. Ruggiano said doctors have told him he'll have to rest the shoulder for at least 24 to 48 more hours before they can pinpoint the full extent of the injury. But Ruggiano said the injury felt worse Saturday after a night's sleep than it did immediately following last night's game.
He's not the only outfielder dealing with an injury. Stanton remains out with a left interocostal strain, which he now says he suffered while sliding into home plate during the Reds series last week.
"Throwing is better and running is better, so making a little progress there," Stanton said. "Hitting is the main thing right now. I've taken a few swings to see the initial (effect). You can tell after one what's going on."
Stanton said he does not believe he's done for the year.
"I'll at least get a few games in," he said. "I'm not done for the year."
Kearns also had his back "lock up" on him last night, making him unavailable for today's game. The Marlins, who have been going with just 12 position players since the end of the season -- even after the start of the Sept. 1 call-up period -- made a hasty call to California and called up Cousins. Cousins, who figured he was done with organized baseball for the season, said the only baseball work he's put in since the end of the Triple A season have been the practice swings he's been taking in preparation for his college alumni game.
It's back to a five-man rotation for the Marlins, as Wade LeBlanc, who made a relief appearance last night, heads back to the bullpen. Pitching coach Randy St. Claire said that, due to a couple of off days near the end of the season, the starters in the six-man set were losing sharpness because of the long off time between starts.
So much for all of the rumors and speculation involving Larry Beinfest and the rest of the front office. According to two sources, owner Jeffrey Loria does not plan to make any changes to his front office staff and Beinfest's job would appear safe for at least another year. Beinfest is under contract through 2015.
The same can't be said for manager Ozzie Guillen, who is also under contract through '15. Sources said Loria is still mulling a decision on whether to fire Guillen. Loria met Friday with his front office contingent and team president David Samson in New York. The group is expected to meet again following the season.
Several names have surfaced as possible replacements for Guillen, including Mike Lowell, Bo Porter and Brad Ausmus. But, while Lowell's name might have been discussed internally, sources tell me that he would not be considered for the job if, in fact, Guillen is fired. That sentiment could always change. Porter, the third base coach for the Nationals and a Marlins managing candidate twice previously, was dismissed by the source as a possibility. Ausmus, who has long-time ties to the Astros, reportedly withdrew his name from consideration for that team's managerial vacancy and has stated previously he does not want to return to baseball.