Friday, March 13, 2009

Joe Maddon On Justin Ruggiano Opening In CF

Justin RuggianoBill Chastain has this from manager Joe Maddon on the idea of Justin Ruggiano opening the season as the Rays starting centerfielder, considering the health of B.J. Upton and Fernando Perez:
"He's been in the picture the whole time," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "He's having a really good spring."
"You talk to any of our Minor League people," Maddon said. "They're always talking about him being ready for the Major Leagues, and to play and to play often. Our Minor League guys like him a lot. So he's definitely in the picture."
Maddon isn't sure how everything will shake out in center field. If Upton is not ready and Ruggiano is the guy taking his place until he's ready, Ruggiano could be a part of a platoon system that would see Gabe Kapler and Ruggiano in center and right field -- still to be determined who would play center in that rotation -- against left-handers and Gabe Gross and Ben Zobrist against right-handers.

"I don't even know that," said Maddon when asked of his plans. "I'm not quite sure where we're at yet."

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