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Ruggiano: I can protect Stanton, play CF

     When Ken Rosenthal of Foxsports tweeted today that the Marlins "need" a centerfielder and mentioned the Angels' Peter Bourjos and free agent Nate McLouth as potential targets, Justin Ruggiano was quick to reply with a tweet of his own: "no we don't. I got this."

      "I came out of nowhere when I was 30 years old and it seems like people are already forgetting what I did last year," Ruggiano said in a phone interview. "Personally, I'd like to be given that opportunity to play out there every day."

      Ruggiano need not fret. The Marlins have neither forgotten Ruggiano, nor dismissed him as a center field candidate. While the Marlins are set in right with Giancarlo Stanton and left with Juan Pierre, they are looking at a host of in-house candidates for the job in center: Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest mentioned Ruggiano, Gorkys Hernandez, Bryan Petersen and even Kevin Mattison (no mention of Chris Coghlan, conspicuously enough, for any outfield spot) in a pre-winter meetings phone session this afternoon with beat writers. Coghlan is hitting .213 in winter ball.

      Long term, Beinfest said he envisions top prospect Christian Yelich in center. Yelich is expected to start out at Double A Jacksonville but could reach the big leagues by the end of the season.

      "He can play the wings, but we like him in center field," Beinfest said. "He's kind of transformed himself into a pretty good center fielder. He gets good jumps. The arm strength is not above average, but he gets himself in position, makes good, accurate throws. We've been happy with his progression in center field."

      But, for now, Ruggiano would seem to have the inside track on the Opening Day job. After all, Ruggiano's .313 average last season is tops among any returning Marlin and he's outranked by only Stanton in home runs with 13.

      Beinfest has said the Marlins are looking around for some power to put into the lineup, someone to protect Stanton, if possible. But that will be difficult given the team's paltry payroll. Beinfest said that the trade route might be the best way to go.

      "We do have some inventory, if we decide to move it, at the minor league level," Beinfest said. "There may be some free agents that haven't been on our radar that maybe we need to look at. And maybe there will be some non-tenders in the next day or two."

      Ruggiano said he thinks he can be that guy, though.

      "I can provide enough power to protect Stanton," Ruggiano said.

      But the Marlins obviously have some reservations. Beinfest declined to call them "concerns," though.

      "I don't think concerns, other than he really hasn't done it in the big leagues for a full year," Beinfest said. "What he showed in the 3 1/2 months we had him last year, he had a very good year and was very productive. But, until you've done it, you can't say you've done it. That would be my only concern, is that he hasn't done it for a full year in the major leagues."

     Said Ruggiano: "I feel like I definitely need to prove to them all the time."

      __________________

      Beinfest said the Marlins have spoken to Yunel Escobar about moving to third base and "he was good with it."

      "We have talked to Escobar and we spoke to him about playing third base," Beinfest said. "We actually met with him."

      The Marlins have been shopping Escobar, though, so don't count him in just yet.

      ___________________

      Beinfest all but said the Marlins plan to tender reliever Ryan Webb before tomorrow''s deadline, as he mentioned Webb and Mike Dunn as possible set-up relievers for closer Steve Cishek. Webb is the Marlins' only arbitration-eligible player.

      ___________________

     Beinfest said reliever Jose Ceda (Tommy John surgery) should be ready for spring training.

      __________________

Comments

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Flav C.

No mention of Coghlan on CF... maybe because he was playing 2B during winter league in Dom. Rep. ?

Capt. Crunch

that ship has sailed , along with the Marlins , on the Titanic

rc

they have "some inventory" in the minor leaugues?

what is this? the local walmarts?

Eddie S

STARTING IN CENTERFIELD FOR THE MIAMI MARLINS ON APRIL 1ST WILL BE JUSTIN RUGGIANO. THIS GUY CAN DO EVERYTHING. HE IS THE ONLY MARLIN LAST YEAR THAT HIT CONSISTENTLY OVER 300.HE CAN THROW, HE CAN HIT FOR AVERAGE, HE CAN HIT HOMERS, HE HAS SPEED AND HE CAN FIELD HIS POSITION EXCEPTIONALLY WELL. WHAT MORE DO THEY WANT. HE HAS NEVER BEEN GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO START SO MANY GAMES. AND LOOK WHAT HE HAS DONE. GIVE RUGGIANO A BREAK. NO ONE PLAYED AS WELL AS RUGGIANO LAST YEAR. WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT HIM TO PROVE. LEAVE HIM ALONE AND LET HIM PROTECT STANTON!!!! AND START IN CENTERFIELD!!!!

TJ

I love the Marlins. I will attend every game. I hope they trade Stanton before the season. We don't need a cancer on the team.

bob

I think Justin definitely earned a chance.

bob

@rc, every Friday is Black Friday at Marlins Park. Every player must go. All inventory must be moved.

Beinfestblows.com

Marlins are the K-Mart of MLB. Bargain basement players. They should wear asbestos uniforms ,always ready for a fire sale.

the truth

Marlins fans..go to the financial blog 2thinkgood.com and get the truth how Loria is lying about the Marlins losing money..read 'Highly questionable or in the tank' and 'Marlins fan pesadilla draws to an end' for the real story.

boycott the marlins

Great story at 2thinkgood.com proving once again for the zillionth time what a bad liar Loria is. Its like a broken record or an old joke at this point. Pathetic

boycott these low lifes

loria, samson, beanfest, these guys should be together in the middle east. iran might be the perfect place. oh, and take selig over there too.

mike

Eddie S, do you know that last season was the only season that Rug has batted .300. Look at his career stats, minor leagues included, see how confident you are.

Stan M

I was wondering what others think of Marvin Miller. In my opinion he was initially needed because the players were treated horribly by the owners in the days of the reserve clause. That being said, I hold him responsible for the ridiculous salaries that are now present. These players will never be able to count it all, never mind spend it. And we fans are the ones who suffer with ball park prices so high that families can only attend a gamme or two a year. The argument that TV money is largely responsible does hold some weight and again the cost to us fans, although hidden, is considerable. There are now so many commecials during games that they are becoming unwatchable. The TV guys can't open their mouths without some product being mentioned. On Marlin games, the first pitch is even brought to us by a product. Are the second and succeeding pitches far behind? But back to Miller. He certainly outsmarted the owners and we ended up with players being rewarded with arbitration after only 3 years. Personally, I didn't like Miller back then, and still don't. Besides to me he looks like a salesman for some brand of snake oil; the bad guy in every grade B movie of years ago.

Flav C.

Mike,

I agree with you. Rug would be a good option coming from the bench or platooning CF with somebody else. I doubt he can keep up a high bat avg throughout an entire season, playing everyday. Mainly if we consider his age, his entire career stats, and the fact that last season, down the stretch, he could not keep up with his numbers from June/July.

Amarillo Slim

over under on Marlins losses...90..will take the over

Flav C.

Amarillo, I'm with you.

Luis Mad

Instead of a CF, Marlins should go for a 1b. I see the old Jason Giambi is a free agent this year and he still is averaging in the last 2 years 1 HR/10 AB; Even he has played only 60 games in the year, so he could give good space for Morrison too to improve.

trex

Love what Ruggiano did last year and admire his confidence. But a big part of providing protection for someone in the lineup is the intimidation factor. "Yikes! If I walk Stanton, then I have to face XXX!" Ruggiano isn't ever going to strike terror in opposing pitchers, so as protection for Stanton, he doesn't cut it.

richiej

Stan, as I recall, the rediculous high salaries started with George Steinbrenner. He had unlimited resources to buy the best players. "win at any price" was the cry.

Patricia Bethencourt

You have to be kidding, first you let go highly qualified players and now you are questioning whether or not to put RUGGIANO in center field? What is the problem? Ruggiano has done a great job, don't let him get away. I know that if he is also not in the line up, I will no longer care what else happens to the Marlins.

Lou

Stan, absolutely right about Miller,however, he only STARTED it, IF 1 time the owners had not capitualated in bargaining sessions thiws would be a better game. AND I'm not talking about players only receiving a million a year, I'm talking about having some kind of cap in place that would provide a degree of stability. As I noted earlier, it is a well known fact that 90% of players have initiated downward cycle at 31-32 and YET due to market conditions these guys are tendered 6 year deals at the risk of POSSIBLY being charged with collusion. The Job Creators created their mess and now they live with it. Would love to root for Marlins as the habitual underdog but the spoiler role doesn't keep you warm at night.

efffff the Marlins

Will love to root for any team playing against the Marlins to beat the livin shitttt out of them on a daily basis.

q1q1

Ruggiano actually has a good minor league career. Only one season with under .800 OPS. I know he had a ridiculous BABIP but it's not like he's a bad fielder. He could use some work on his baserunning though, 8 times CS out of 22 attempts is not good.

Eddie S

RUGGIANO SHOULD AND WILL BE THE STARTING CENTERFIELDER IN 2013. HE WAS THE MOST CONSISTENT HITTER( HE HAS POWER AND HITS FOR AVERAGE, HE HAS SPEED , DRIVES IN RUNS AND HAS A GREAT ARM. I BET IF YOU GIVE HIM A CHANCE HE CAN COMPETE FOR THE ALL STAR TEAM IN 2013.
THERE IS NO PROBLEM IN CENTERFIELD. HOW DARE MANAGMENT PUT RUGGIANO ON THE SAME LINE AS GORKY AND PETERSEN.HOW MANY HOMERS DID THOSE 2 HIT MAYBE 3. WHILE RUGGIANO HAD 13. THE BATTING AVERAGE IS A JOKE GORKY HIT MOSTLY BELOW 200 AND PETERSEN WAS BELOW 200 MOST OF THE YEAR.
STARTING AT CENTERFIELD FOR THE MIAMI MARLINS ON APRIL 1ST AND FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR WILL BE JUSTIN RUGGIANO.
TRY FINDING POWER OUT OF 3RD BASE. WE HAVE RUGGIANO PROTECTING STANTON!!!!

Lou

If Ruggiano is protecting Stanton, that means he will be traded along with him.

Eddie S

they certainly will not trade Ruggiano since they are not paying him that much money. Ruggiano is a bargain and presently so is Stanton. Let's hope in a few years when Stanton maybe too expensive for Marlin Management maybe LORIA will be gone amd the Marlins maybe able to hold onto him.

Lou

Eddie, He will be gone before the season starts. Count on it. I mean Stanton not Ruggiano. Ruggiano fits into their salary structure. REALLY good tickets will be available by April 3.

Eddie S

Why would they trade Stanton if it doesn't cost the Marlins much money. It happened so many times last year that Ruggiano cam thru in the clutch. I listedned to most of the Marlin games last year and no one was as consistent as Ruggiano.

Lou

Eddie, They will trade Stanton because that is what they do. Now he has criticized the Supreme Potentate and the other sultans and he will be exiled--Well, not exactly exiled, since he will go to a better place with a chance to win. The Braves get Upton. The Marlins get Pierre. See a trend developing?

Eddie S

They will probably trade Stanton but not for a few years. Stanton right now is dirt cheap so why trade him?

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