The Rangers made it official late last week when they inked veteran outfielder Justin Ruggiano to a one-year deal worth $1.65 million, and in the process they shored up two needs — a fourth outfielder and a right-handed bat that can mash left-handed pitching.
With Mike Napoli signing with Cleveland late last week, the Rangers needed someone who could hit lefties from the right side, and Ruggiano fits that mold.
Since 2012, Ruggiano has a .290 batting average and .930 OPS in 439 plate appearances against lefties. Last year, he hit .301 with a .948 OPS in 92 plate appearances against lefties and will be an option to platoon with Josh Hamilton in left field, allowing Hamilton to sit against lefties. That, of course, assuming Hamilton is healthy and can even platoon with Ruggiano. If not, the left field job would most likely be Ruggiano's.
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Just as important, Ruggiano can play all three outfield spots and is actually quite proficient in center field, which is huge considering the Rangers had only Delino DeShields as a capable center fielder on their roster.