MIAMI -- Plenty of work off the field is helping keep Miami's Justin Ruggiano on the field on a daily basis.
For the first time in his Major League career, the 30-year-old outfielder is enduring the rigors of playing every day. Part of the process is playing through some aches and pains.
"You have to take care of your body," Ruggiano said. "You have to do everything pre- and postgame to make yourself available for the next day."
Like many players this time of year, Ruggiano is playing with some discomfort. He's dealt with some low back tightness, which has him doing a series of core exercises.
"The day you kind of get lazy or tired of doing it, it's the next day it's going to be a problem for you," he said. "If I don't take care of myself after a game, the next day is usually a rough one for me.
"For me, there's a lot of core exercises that I need to do -- stretching out, icing. That's something new for me. I've never had this in pro ball before."
Ruggiano has been a key acquisition for the Marlins this season. Acquired in a Minor League trade with the Astros in May, he has become a staple in the lineup, either in center or left field.
In 75 games, he's batting .326 with 13 home runs and 32 RBIs.
Ruggiano came up through the Rays' system, but he never received steady big league playing time. In fact, from 2007-11 with Tampa Bay, he appeared in 98 games and had 195 total at-bats.
Through 75 games with Miami, he's already had 227 at-bats. To make it through the season, he understands he will be playing at less than 100 percent.
"Any nagging injury right now, you're not going to heal up until the offseason," the outfielder said.