DENVER -- Justin Ruggiano stepped to the plate Wednesday night with runners at first and second, the Marlins down a run after finally plating their first run of the night.
It was an ideal moment for Rugianno, pinch-hitting, to break out of an 0-for-30 slump dating to July 8. But the outfielder swung and missed at a full-count slider from Rockies reliever Matt Belisle to end the inning, two of the 12 runners Miami left on base.
Ruggiano's struggles have certainly played a role in the team's scuffles as a whole, as the Marlins have scored just eight runs in six games after the All-Star break entering Thursday.
"It's tough, and I know he's frustrated," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said after Wednesday night's loss. "Any time anybody scuffles, you're reeling and trying to figure out a way to get out of it. Sometimes it's maybe a pinch-hit, big hit in a certain situation. Who knows?
"You just got to keep battling and keep grinding and you can't feel sorry for yourself."
A consistent piece of Miami's lineup this year, Ruggiano has not started since the Marlins called up their two top prospects in Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick.
Redmond said he plans to give Marisnick and Yelich consistent playing time in an effort to give them critical Major League experience. He also acknowledged that will mean less time for Ruggiano and veteran outfielder Juan Pierre.
Ruggiano had been an offensive centerpiece for the Marlins this year, leading the team with 12 homers, and his 23 RBIs are tied for the team lead with Marcell Ozuna. It's those numbers that leave Redmond confident his 31-year-old outfielder will break from the slump sooner rather than later.
"You got to be able to turn the page, and that's what we talked about a lot this year, be able to turn the page and move on," Redmond said. "You get three hits, great day, enjoy it, move on. It's the same way when you're struggling -- got to be able to turn the page."
Young Marisnick ready for milestone
DENVER -- Jake Marisnick entered Thursday still searching for his first big league hit.
Marisnick, called up from Double-A Jacksonville along with his pal and fellow highly touted prospect Christian Yelich on Monday night, was 0-for-8 with two strikeouts in his first two Major League games. Marisnick watched as Yelich stole the spotlight Tuesday night when both players made their debuts. Yelich went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, leading the Marlins to a 4-2 victory in the second game of the series.
Marlins manager Mike Redmond said Marisnick will have an easier time moving on after he gets the career milestone out of the way.
"He needs to get that hit and move on," Redmond said after Wednesday's 4-2 loss to the Rockies. "But it'll happen, I'm not worried."
Marisnick earned his third consecutive start in center field Thursday, the finale of a four-game series against the Rockies.
Valaika clears waivers, outrighted to Triple-A
DENVER -- The Marlins outrighted infielder Chris Valaika to Triple-A New Orleans on Thursday.
Valaika was designated for assignment Tuesday and cleared waivers, and will rejoin the Zephyrs just days after he finished a rehab assignment with them. Valaika has not played for Miami since May 7, when a runner collided with his glove hand and forced him to the disabled list.
Splitting his time between first, second and third base, Valaika struggled at the plate, hitting .219 with a homer and nine RBIs through 22 games.
In five games with Triple-A New Orleans, Valaika is 5-for-20 (.250) with three extra-base hits, driving in two runs.
Ian McCue is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.