Hoping to stick in Miami, Ruggiano expands game
Relegated to bench role, slumping outfielder putting in work at first base
MIAMI -- With so many talented young players growing together, the Marlins are confident they are headed for a bright future.
Justin Ruggiano would like to remain part of the plans.
The 31-year-old outfielder is open to any spot on the roster, be it outfield or even some first base, if necessary.
"To be a part of this team right here, and what we're doing and where they're headed, whatever role they would have me in, I'd love to be here," Ruggiano said. "I enjoy the staff here. I think we're going to have a really good future ahead of us. We have such a talented group of young arms here. And a lineup that is shaping up nicely. It's going to be fun."
There are indications that the Marlins would like to have Ruggiano back next year, because he offers solid defense at all three outfield positions, and he has power.
Miami is short on home run threats, and it appears that in the offseason they will not be in the market for a high-priced free-agent power hitter. Basically, the Marlins are looking for the talent they have within the organization to emerge.
Ruggiano has moved into a bench role now that Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick have been promoted from Double-A Jacksonville to the big leagues. Of late, Ruggiano has gone through a rough time, as he is mired in an 0-for-33 slump, which is tied with Mike Jacobs (2007) for the longest drought in franchise history by a position player.
But more than his .200 batting average, Ruggiano has already shown he can be productive, as indicated by his 12 homers, 32 RBIs and 12 stolen bases.
Ruggiano is arbitration-eligible for the first time after this season.
Several teams inquired about Ruggiano before Wednesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, and he still could be moved in August during the waiver trade period, if an offer makes sense.
But it appears unlikely Ruggiano will be dealt by Sept. 1.
Ruggiano also is open to playing first base, if needed, which gives him more options for contributing. Of late, he has worked on the basics at first base from infield coach Perry Hill, nicknamed "Bone."
"I've been probably bothering Bone more than he wants me to, just to get some work in over at first," Ruggiano said. "Just to get somewhat of a comfort level, if they got into a pinch, or if they actually wanted me to work over there. Either way.
"I feel comfortable in the outfield enough that I could take some days off from shagging fly balls and go over there and get work in earlier or do it in BP. But it's definitely something you have to work on. You can't just go over there. I'd love to do it."
Ruggiano also is leaning toward playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic to get more at-bats.
Big week coming up for injured Coghlan
MIAMI -- Early next week, Chris Coghlan will head to the Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla., to continue his rehabilitation from a back injury.
But the big day for the Marlins' 28-year-old is Thursday, when he'll be re-evaluated by spine specialist Dr. Drew Dossett in Texas.
If cleared by Dossett, the Marlins will be free to set a date for Coghlan to begin rehab-assignment games.
"I am very excited that I am not going to miss the rest of the season," Coghlan said.
Coghlan was placed on the 15-day disabled list on June 9, with what initially was called right calf nerve irritation. The injury, however, is mostly related to his back.
"I feel great," Coghlan said. "Now it's a matter of getting in baseball shape."
Coghlan did some running on Friday afternoon, and has been fielding ground balls and throwing. He is easing back into hitting.
Scoring change gives Pierre his 20th steal back
MIAMI -- Talk about a delayed steal.
Juan Pierre received credit for only one stolen base after swiping two bags during the ninth inning of Monday's 6-5 loss to the Mets. Four days later, his move from second to third was changed from defensive indifference to his 20th stolen base.
The initial ruling surprised Pierre.
"I'm like, 'What? Catcher indifference on a one-run game?'" Pierre said. "Yeah, it didn't make sense, but I wasn't going to fight it or nothing. I'm past all that kind of stuff. It's definitely good to get a stolen base when it's due to you to have one."
The scoring change bumped Pierre up to 18th in the Majors with 20 steals. But more important, it gave him 20 or more stolen bases in 13 straight seasons. Pierre is the 16th player in MLB history to accomplish such a feat.
He twice led the National League in stolen bases. Pierre paced the Senior Circuit with 46 as a Rockie in 2001 and 65 as a Marlin in 2003.
Pierre also led the American League in steals in 2010, swiping a career-high 68 as a member of the White Sox.
He leads all active players and ranks 18th on the all-time list with 611 steals. He is eight swiped bags away from tying Hall of Famer George Davis at No. 17.
"That's pretty cool," Pierre said. "To move up on the list, to try to move up on the list is pretty cool. I don't play this game for that, but it's always cool.
"When I see the list and stuff like that, I'm like, 'I don't deserve to be on there.' But. you know, over the course of seasons, I've stolen some bases."
• Veteran third baseman Placido Polanco reportedly has been placed on waivers. It is not known if he has been claimed.
• If Christian Yelich hadn't signed with the Marlins after being a first-round Draft pick in 2010, he had committed to play at the University of Miami. Hurricanes baseball coach Jim Morris was at Marlins batting practice on Friday, and he spoke briefly to Yelich, who would have just completed his junior year. Had Yelich become a Hurricane, he likely would have started off playing first base, instead of the outfield.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.