MIAMI -- In search of right-handed bats in the outfield to face Braves lefty Mike Minor on Thursday, the Marlins started Justin Ruggiano in center field and utility man Donovan Solano in left.
Since switch-hitter Emilio Bonifacio (thumb) and right-hander Austin Kearns (hamstring) both landed on the disabled list last month, the Marlins have been trying to find right-handed replacements, particularly when the team faces left-handed pitchers, like it did Thursday against Minor.
As a result, left-handers Chris Coghlan and Bryan Petersen were out of the lineup. The move gave the Marlins six right-handed bats in the order, with one switch-hitter (Jose Reyes) and two lefties -- first baseman Logan Morrison and pitcher Mark Buehrle.
In six games with the Marlins, Ruggiano is 4-for-12 with a double and a home run, while Solano has five hits in 11 at-bats this season.
"[Ruggiano is] back in the lineup to see what he can do to help us, and we'll go from there," Miami manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Down there [in the bottom half of the order] we got a lot of guys that are struggling right now, and we need the help from them."
Thursday marked the second start in left for Solano, a career infielder, since the Marlins selected his contract on May 20. For Ruggiano, it was his first start in center since the team acquired him May 26, with his other two starts coming in left.
Ruggiano primarily played center field with Triple-A Oklahoma City before the Astros traded him to the Marlins, playing 21 games there this season while occasionally shifting to left and right field. While he said center is the easiest of the three positions in terms of reading the ball off the bat, Ruggiano has been watching how Petersen plays center at Marlins Park to help him get a feel for it.
"I'm not putting too much pressure on myself," Ruggiano said. "The way I see it, I'm playing with the house's money right now."