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.”
You get to a point where you want to see some live action. 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.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister
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.
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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.”