Justin Marshall Ruggiano (born April 12, 1982) is an American professional baseball outfielder who is currently a free agent. He has played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays / Rays, Miami Marlins, Chicago Cubs, Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers New York Mets and San Francisco Giants.
Ruggiano with the New York Mets in 2016
|Born: April 12, 1982|
|September 19, 2007, for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays|
|Runs batted in||163|
Los Angeles DodgersEdit
The Los Angeles Dodgers drafted Ruggiano in the 25th round of the 2004 MLB Draft. The Dodgers sent Ruggiano to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2006, with Dioner Navarro and Jae Weong Seo for Toby Hall, Mark Hendrickson and cash.
Tampa Bay Devil Rays / RaysEdit
Ruggiano made his Major League Baseball debut with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2007. On October 19, 2007, Ruggiano was added to the roster of the United States national baseball team to play in the 2007 Baseball World Cup.
In 2008, he batted .197 for Tampa Bay in 76 at bats. Ruggiano hit his first career home run, a long ball to left field, on June 21, 2008 off of pitcher Wandy Rodriguez of the Houston Astros. Ruggiano became part of a historical play in the 2008 World Series when Rays manager Joe Maddon moved Ruggiano from right field to become a fifth infielder, playing directly behind the second base bag.
During the 2010–11 offseason, Ruggiano was designated for assignment. He designated for assignment again after the 2011 season and on January 30, 2012, he elected free agency.
On February 6, 2012, he signed a minor league contract with the Houston Astros.
On May 26, 2012, Ruggiano was traded to the Miami Marlins for minor league catcher Jobduan Morales. He was called up to Miami the next day, and Kevin Mattison was optioned to Triple-A. After playing well in June, Ruggiano heated up in July. He ended the first half of the season with 6 home runs (4 in the last 6 games), 17 RBIs, and a batting average of .390. On September 21, Ruggiano injured his shoulder in the fifth inning in a game against the New York Mets. He finished the season batting .313 with 13 homers, 36 RBIs, 23 doubles, a .374 on-base percentage(OBP), and a .909 on-base slug percentage(OPS).
On December 12, 2013, the Marlins traded Ruggiano to the Chicago Cubs for outfielder Brian Bogusevic. As a part-time outfielder during the 2014 season he played in 81 games before requiring surgery on his left ankle. Ruggiano finished the 2014 season hitting .281/.337/.429 in 224 at-bats, with six home runs and 28 RBIs.
On December 17, 2014, he was traded to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for minor leaguer Matt Brazis. He was designated for assignment on June 4, 2015. He cleared waivers and was assigned outright to the class AAA Tacoma Rainiers.
Los Angeles DodgersEdit
On August 31, 2015, he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for cash considerations, and on September 1 was added to the active roster. He played in 21 games for the Dodgers in September (mostly starting against left handed pitching) and hit .291 with four homers and 12 RBI. On November 5, he was outrighted to the minors and removed from the 40 man roster. On November 6, he chose to become a free agent rather than accept an assignment to the minors.
On December 17, 2015, Ruggiano signed a one-year deal with the Texas Rangers. Ruggiano made the Rangers opening day roster with the initial plan of Ruggiano platooning with outfielder Josh Hamilton. Ruggiano started opening day for the Rangers going 1-4 with a double and an RBI. After the first game of the season, the Rangers designated Ruggiano for assignment. He was outrighted to the AAA roster afterwards. He was released on July 26 and signed by the New York Mets shortly thereafter, playing in his first game for the club July 30, 2016.
New York MetsEdit
On July 30, 2016, the Mets signed Ruggiano to their 25-man roster to replace the injured José Reyes After only six plate appearances with the Mets, Ruggiano was placed on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain. On August 18, Ruggiano returned from the disabled list. After appearing in five games and hitting two home runs including a grand slam off of Madison Bumgarner, Ruggiano was placed on the disabled list again with a shoulder injury.
San Francisco GiantsEdit
On December 23, 2016, Ruggiano signed a minor league contract with the San Francisco Giants. On May 6, 2017, after playing for the Sacramento River Cats for a month, San Francisco purchased Ruggiano's contract, promoting him to the Giants. On June 2nd, Ruggiano was designated for assignment when Austin Slater was called up from Triple A Sacramento. He cleared waivers and reported to Triple A Sacramento. On July 25th, Ruggiano opted out of his minor league deal with the Giants.
Ruggiano retired in the offseason to become a hitting instructor for younger players at his home in Sunnyvale, Texas.
As of February 2016, Ruggiano and his wife, Shelly, lived in Heath, Texas with their children. Following the late December 2015 North American storm complex, Ruggiano and his wife volunteered via their church to help in the recovery effort.
Ruggiano's brother, Brian, also played baseball for Texas A&M and, like Justin, was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers (in the 23rd round of the 2008 MLB Draft). A catcher in college, Brian played infield and outfield for four years in minor and independent baseball, spending the 2010 season with the Great Lakes Loons of the Class A Midwest League.
- "Justin Ruggiano". thebaseballcube.com. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved October 23, 2007.
- Robbins, Kevin (October 23, 2007). "Former Anderson High and Texas A&M outfielder named to World Cup team". Austin American Statesman. Archived from the original on October 29, 2007. Retrieved October 23, 2007.
- "Justin Ruggiano called up". NBC Sports. May 27, 2012.
- "Player Updates:Justin Ruggiano". CBSSports.com. MLB. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- Mariners Acquire OF Justin Ruggiano from Chicago Cubs
- Weisman, Jon (August 31, 2015). "Justin Ruggiano reacquired by Dodgers". Dodgers Insider. Retrieved August 31, 2015.
- Stephen, Eric (September 1, 2015). "Dodgers add Justin Ruggiano, Joe Wieland to September roster". SB Nation. Retrieved October 7, 2015.
- "Justin Ruggiano Statistics & History". Baseball Reference.
- Stephen, Eric (November 5, 2015). "Justin Ruggiano sent outright to Triple-A Oklahoma City". SB Nation. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
- Harding, Thomas (December 17, 2015). "Rangers sign OF Ruggiano to 1-year deal". MLB.com. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
- Battifarano, Andrew (July 30, 2016) Mets sign Justin Ruggiano, send Reyes to DL SNY.com.
- Rubin, Adam (August 2, 2016). "Mets place SS Cabrera on DL amid roster shuffle". ESPN.com. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
- Guardado, Maria (August 27, 2016). "Mets place Justin Ruggiano on the disabled list (again), recall T.J. Rivera". NJ.com. Retrieved 30 August 2016.
- Saltzman, Michael (December 23, 2016). "San Francisco Giants Bring Back Michael Morse on Minor League Deal". foxsports.com. Retrieved December 24, 2016.
- Haft, Chris. "Giants promote Ruggiano, DFA Stubbs". MLB.com. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
- Sullivan, T.R. (February 20, 2016). "Justin Ruggiano aids community after tornadoes". MLB.com. Major League Baseball. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
- Laurila, David (August 21, 2010). "Family Matters, with Justin Ruggiano". Minor Issues. Baseball Prospectus. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
- Neary, Kevin; Tobin, Leigh A. (2012). Major League Dads: Baseball's Best Players Reflect on the Fathers who Inspired Them to Love the Game. Running Press. p. 195. ISBN 0762444525. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
- "Brian Ruggiano Register Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved 30 July 2016.