Results tagged ‘ Justin Ruggiano ’

3/31 Extra bases

* Starlin Castro may have only played three Cactus League games, but that was enough to convince Cubs manager Rick Renteria to insert the shortstop into the No. 3 spot in the Opening Day lineup.

“Wherever he puts me, I’ll try to do my job,” said Castro, who missed time because of a right hamstring strain suffered March 2.

Renteria wanted speed at the top of the lineup and went with Emilio Bonifacio and Junior Lake ahead of Castro, who also could lead off in games.

“I think I have some flexibility with the guys,” Renteria said.

* Justin Ruggiano did not start Monday against the Pirates’ Francisco Liriano because of a tender left ankle.

“He had a sore ankle at end of spring and we’re just trying to make sure we give him one more day and then we have a day off [Tuesday] and he’ll be ready to go the following day,” Renteria said.

* Top prospects Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler will open the season at Double-A Tennessee. Soler, however, will be slowed because of a sore hamstring. Arodys Vizcaino, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, was assigned to Class A Daytona to take advantage of the warm weather. Vizcaino will be on a structured program for the first month.

– Carrie Muskat

3/25 Ruggiano scratched with sore ankle

If it was the regular season, Justin Ruggiano would be in the Cubs’ lineup, but instead he will be careful with his left ankle, which was swollen when he woke up Tuesday. Ruggiano was scratched from the Cubs’ lineup against the Angels, but didn’t think the problem was serious.

“I just woke up a little swollen, not comfortable to run around on now,” Ruggiano said. “Given the fact that we’re a week out [before the season starts], I want to give it one day. I’ll be fine tomorrow.”

Ruggiano, who was going to get some hitting in the cages Tuesday, will get treatment Tuesday to take care of the inflammation in his ankle.

“I think what I did was break up some old scar tissue,” he said of the problem. “There was no [ankle] roll, nothing that happened.

“It felt good yesterday,” he said. “I did it before the game. Played the whole game, felt good, went home, you sleep for 12 hours, 10 hours, and then it has time for the swelling to set in. That’s all it is now, it’s just swollen.”

So if this was the regular season, he’d be playing?

“Definitely,” Ruggiano said.

– Carrie Muskat

3/9 Cubs 10, Brewers 8

Justin Ruggiano drove in three runs, including two on his second spring homer, Junior Lake smacked a tie-breaking RBI and a sacrifice fly, Brett Jackson had a two-run pinch-hit single, and Anthony Rizzo hit a RBI triple for the Cubs who rallied to beat the Brewers, 10-8, on Sunday. The game drew a Cactus League-record crowd of 14,770. The attendance topped the previous league mark of 14,680 set March 1 at new Cubs Park.

* Right fielder Ryan Sweeney had to leave the game after chasing Jeff Bianchi’s double because of soreness in his right knee. Sweeney was listed as day to day.

* Kyle Hendricks, the Cubs’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2013, gave up two runs on three hits and two walks over three innings in his second Cactus League start.

“I’m much happier with this [start],” Hendricks said. “I’m just disappointed that we go out and score two runs and then I go out and give them both back up. That will all work itself out as I get out there more and am more consistent with my mechanics.”

Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun was greeted by a chorus of boos from the sellout crowd during his two at-bats. Hendricks struck Braun out to end the first, but the Brewers outfielder doubled in the third.

“He got me on the second at-bat, but that wasn’t a bad pitch,” Hendricks said. “His barrel stays through the zone very well. I could’ve thrown a different pitch to him — but it was a good pitch, and he’s a really good hitter. He’s going to get his hits.”

Did Hendricks hear the crowd?

“You could hear those boos,” Hendricks said. “All the Brewers fans were trying to cheer over them.”

* Jeff Samardzija will make his third spring start on Monday when the Cubs travel to Scottsdale to face the Giants. Samardzija will likely pitch at least four innings. In his last outing against the Rockies, he gave up three runs on four hits over three innings. So far, he has not walked a batter, which is good. The right-hander is working on being more efficient with his pitches. The game will be broadcast on Cubs.com.

– Carrie Muskat

3/4 Cubs 6, Athletics 4

* Justin Ruggiano and Anthony Rizzo combined for three runs, Albert Almora delivered a tie-breaking RBI single and Mike Olt smacked a two-run home run to lift the Cubs to a 6-3 victory Tuesday over the Athletics’ split-squad team. Ruggiano hit a RBI double in the first and a two-run homer in the third, driving in Rizzo both times, and Almora delivered a tie-breaking RBI single with one out in the eighth as the Cubs won for the second straight game.

Kyle Hendricks, the Cubs’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year after going 13-4 at Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa, gave up one run on two hits and three walks over two innings in his first Cactus League start. The right-hander walked three batters in four of his 27 starts last season, and posted a 1.058 WHIP for the season.

* Last spring, Mike Olt struggled to bat .194. On Tuesday, he collected his first Cactus League home run in just his third at-bat and it wasn’t a relief as much as affirmation that everything is going well. Olt, hoping to find a spot on the Cubs’ Opening Day roster, belted a two-run, pinch-hit homer in the eighth.

“I’ve been feeling good at the plate the last couple days and as long as I’m feeling comfortable, I think good things will come,” Olt said.

The infielder was dealing with vision problems last year, although it took him while to figure that out. He went 6-for-31 in 19 spring games last year with the Rangers, including two home runs. He was assigned to Triple-A Round Rock, where he continued to struggle, batting .213. Texas included Olt as one of the four players in the deal to get Matt Garza from the Cubs. Tuesday’s home run was another step in Olt’s comeback.

“It’s really not me getting hits,” he said. “It’s about me seeing the ball well and that’s my main goal in Spring Training. Obviously, you want hits and you want to perform but the main goal in Spring Training is to get comfortable and it’s definitely a noticeable difference just the way I feel right now, and that’s what I’m happy about.”

* Cubs reliever James Russell has yet to appear in a game this spring. He said Tuesday it was because of his allergies but manager Rick Renteria said the lefty is going through a “dead arm” phase, which Russell has dealt with in the past. Russell is coming off his second straight season in which he appeared in 70-plus games. Renteria wasn’t worried about the lefty, who threw on the side Tuesday.

* Looking ahead, Jeff Samardzija starts on Wednesday against the Rockies and will be followed by Chris Rusin. Travis Wood will go Thursday, and James McDonald will make his first Cactus League start on Friday against the Angels in one of the Cubs’ split squad games. Edwin Jackson will get his second spring start in Mesa against the Indians. McDonald gave up six runs on three hits against the Angels in his first outing last Friday.

* Samardzija on the addition of Ted Lilly to the Cubs front office: “I wouldn’t have had the success I did my rookie year without Teddy.”

– Carrie Muskat

12/12 Cubs get Ruggiano

The Cubs Thursday swapped outfielders with the Marlins, sending Brian Bogusevic to Miami for right-handed hitting Justin Ruggiano.

The Cubs needed another right-handed hitting outfielder to platoon with Nate Schierholtz and Ryan Sweeney. Ruggiano, 31, has a .281 batting average over the last two seasons against left-handed pitching.

The newest Cub has spent all or part of five Major League seasons with Tampa Bay (2007-08, 2011) and Miami (2012-13), batting .251 with 49 doubles, 37 home runs and 109 RBIs in 317 games.

Bogusevic, who turns 30 in February, batted .273 with six home runs and 16 RBIs in 47 games with the Cubs last year. He signed a Minor League contract with the Cubs prior to the 2013 campaign.

– Carrie Muskat

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