Ruggiano returns to lineup in finale vs. Rockies

Ruggiano returns to lineup in finale vs. Rockies

DENVER -- Third baseman Donnie Murphy was in the lineup and batting sixth after missing 14 games with a left hamstring strain. And left fielder Justin Ruggiano also returned, playing for the first time since he left Wednesday's game with a right oblique strain. He doubled to left-center on his first at-bat. Ruggiano said he didn't know he would be in the lineup until he saw the lineup card posted in the clubhouse Sunday morning.

"I got here early just to see, and that way I can prepare myself to get ready," Ruggiano said.

Ruggiano has been dealing with back stiffness for a while, which he said likely contributed to his oblique soreness. While cleared to play, Ruggiano said thoughts of his health issues are, understandably, not fully behind him yet.

"To say it's not in the back of [my] mind that I've had a tight oblique or a tight back -- it's probably in my mind," Ruggiano said. "I try not to think about it. I try once I hit the field to play my normal game. I've been dealing with a tight back; everything's kind of intertwined, the oblique and back kind of connect to each other. I'm just hoping this time I can keep it loose and be normal again."

Ruggiano said his oblique doesn't bother him when he throws. And he has to be sure he's loose before swinging the bat with ample stretching and warm-up swings.

"It seems like after I get loose, it feels like there's nothing there," Ruggiano said.