MRI reveals Ruggiano has back strain

JUPITER, Fla. — Results of an MRI revealed, Marlins outfielder Justin Ruggiano has a back strain.

The fact that it is so early in Spring Training, Ruggiano will take as much time as necessary to recover.

“I’m not sure how long he is out,” manager Mike Redmond said. “He is getting treatments. We’ll just have to see day-to-day, how that progresses.”

Projected as Miami’s starting center fielder, Ruggiano tweaked his lower back while fielding a ground ball in the outfield on Thursday. He had an MRI taken later in the afternoon.

On Friday morning, Ruggiano said his back still was tight.

“I don’t feel any better,” he said.

Ruggiano was hampered by back spasms last season. Tests taken then showed there was no structural damage.

The Marlins open their Grapefruit League schedule on Saturday against the Cardinals.

Gorkys Hernandez, Chris Coghlan, Bryan Petersen, Kevin Mattison and Juan Pierre are candidates to play center.

Stanton batting third: Giancarlo Stanton will bat third on Saturday in the Marlins’ Grapefruit League opener against the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium.

“I want to get him as many at-bats as we can,” Redmond said. “We’ve got to get him ready for the Classic. He needs to get in there, and get as many at-bats as he can. So that he feels comfortable that when he leaves here, he’s ready to go there. In that Classic, they’re going to play multiple games. He needs to feel like he’s ready to play, and play a full game by the time he leaves.”

Stanton will be playing for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, and he will be leaving Marlins camp on March 3 to get ready.

Playing on Saturday: Who will be playing on Saturday has been announced, but where they will hit in the lineup has yet to be revealed. Redmond only announced Stanton will bat third. John Maine will be the starting pitcher, but he will not bat.

The starters will be: Jeff Mathis (catcher), Joe Mahoney (first base), Donovan Solano (second base), Adeiny Hechavarria (shortstop), Placido Polanco (third base), Juan Pierre (left field), Gorkys Hernandez (center field), Stanton (right fielder) and Alfredo Silverio (designated hitter).

Joe Frisaro

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