MIAMI -- A few minor adjustments helped Justin Ruggiano have a career night Tuesday.
Ruggiano went 4-for-4 with a home run, three singles and two RBIs in the series opener against the Nats to help wash out the bad taste of a difficult two-plus weeks for the Marlins outfielder. Ruggiano had been mired in a 9-for-48 (.188) slide dating back to Aug. 10.
"My numbers these last two weeks were terrible," Ruggiano said. "So I got with [hitting coach Eduardo Perez] and we sat down and talked about a few things."
Ruggiano felt his swing during that time was different than normal due to a couple of minor injuries to his back and rib cage. After meeting with Perez and working on some things in the batting cages, like freeing up his hands more and controlling his body, Ruggiano believes he's back to where he has the feeling of an easier swing.
The 30-year-old Ruggiano has been a pleasant surprise for the Marlins since they acquired him from the Astros in a Minor League trade in late May. In 70 games entering Wednesday, he has hit .327 with a .606 slugging percentage, 13 homers, 17 doubles, 31 RBIs and 11 stolen bases.
"This kid came out of nowhere and we gave him a chance and he grabbed it and kept it," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said.
The Marlins skipper added that Ruggiano's performance has earned the journeyman outfielder, who is out of Minor League options, a spot on next year's roster. Whether that spot is a starting job or a platoon role remains to be seen.
"You can doubt this kid as much as you want, but what he's been doing day in and day out [has been great]," Guillen said. "Can he last longer in the season? We'll see. Can he get 500 at-bats without getting hurt? That's tough to say. But what he's been doing, I don't see why we would deny [Ruggiano a roster spot]. We'll still have meetings to talk about it."