Marlins try to keep hot-hitting Ruggiano fresh

Marlins try to keep hot-hitting Ruggiano fresh

Marlins try to keep hot-hitting Ruggiano fresh

MIAMI -- Justin Ruggiano has been one of the Marlins' most productive hitters this month.

In hopes of keeping things that way, the 31-year-old outfielder is getting periodic days offs, so he was out of the lineup Friday in the series opener against the Padres at Marlins Park.

Ruggiano is batting .302 in June with three home runs and six RBIs. But Sunday at San Francisco, he strained his left shoulder while making a diving attempt on a ball in left field.

The Marlins had an off-day Thursday, and manager Mike Redmond opted to give Ruggiano another break Friday, meaning he received two straight days to rest. Juan Pierre started Friday, but Ruggiano was expected to start Saturday.

"It's fine," Ruggiano said. "I can make do."

Since Sunday, Ruggiano played Tuesday and in Wednesday's series finale against the Twins.

"It really didn't bother me much the other day," he said. "I could only think of one swing where it hurt. It is one of those things."

Ruggiano has yet to have an MRI exam, but that could change if he does not see progress in his recovery. He is nursing it back to strength while splitting time with Pierre.

Ruggiano has also started against left-handed pitchers, and the Padres are going with southpaw Eric Stults on Saturday.

"If I feel like I'm not getting any better and it pops out again, then I'll have to get an MRI," Ruggiano said. "All it needs is rehab."

Redmond is mixing and matching his roster, and he said that was how he was using veteran third baseman Placido Polanco.

"It's important to keep these guys as fresh as we can," Redmond said. "We're seeing the results when we give guys a little breather, especially Polly. Early in the season we had to play him so much because we didn't have many other options. I think giving him a few days off has really helped him."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter