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Justin Ruggiano leaves Rays, signs with Astros

Feb 6, 2012, 5:30 PM EDT

Justin Ruggiano

UPDATE: One week after declining the option of remaining in the Rays’ system Ruggiano has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Astros.

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Tampa Bay’s 40-man roster housecleaning is costing Triple-A Durham its best players.

This morning the Rays traded reigning Triple-A MVP Russ Canzler to the Indians for cash considerations after designating him for assignment and his Durham teammate Justin Ruggiano chose free agency over an assignment to Triple-A.

Ruggiano has struggled in a few brief stints in the majors, hitting just .226 with six homers and a .621 OPS in 98 games spread over three seasons, but he’s consistently posted strong numbers in the minors and probably deserves a chance somewhere at age 29.

Of course, he’s also spent the past five seasons at Durham, so it’s understandable that Ruggiano would decline an assignment there and take his chances finding work in another organization. Overall at Triple-A he’s hit .289 with 68 homers and an .835 OPS in 476 games, which suggests his best role in the majors would be as a platoon corner outfielder facing primarily left-handed pitching.

  1. snowbirdgothic - Jan 31, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    So they’re going to have Elliot Johnson play all 9 positions? Between losing Canzler, Ruggiano and the Garfoose, it’s looking mighty thin over at the DBAP.

  2. stex52 - Feb 7, 2012 at 8:44 AM

    Price of a really strong minor league organization, I guess. Guys know they can do better. Hope this does a little bit for the Astros situation. Probably not much.

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