Outfielder Justin Ruggiano will play first base in a Sunday morning B game, the first time at the position in his career. The right-handed hitter has been working with coaches since early in camp in hopes of giving the club options with a right-handed bat of the bench in place of the left-hitting Mitch Moreland.
“He says he’s ready to go so we’ll fire him in there,” Manager Jeff Banister said. “It gives us an opportunity to get him out there in a somewhat less stressful situation and not on the big diamond. I think he’s excited about it.”
The B game against the White Sox is at 11 a.m. (central time) on Field No. 1 at the Surprise Recreation Campus. The Rangers will play as the visitor to give the White Sox an extra half inning of pitching. Martin Perez is starting the B game and is expected to throw three innings. Banister declined to confirm but the club probably didn’t want Perez to face the division foe Mariners in the afternoon spring game.
Infield coaches Tony Beasley and Steve Buechele, who’ve taken turns instructing Ruggiano at first, both told Banister he was ready to give it a go.
“You get to a point where you want to see some live action,” Banister said. “More importantly, Ruggiano wants to do it. You got to have the desire first. I approached him with the idea [Saturday] morning and he was up for it.”