08/19/12 4:53 PM ET
Ruggiano returns to lineup in finale vs. Rockies
By Jack Etkin / MLB.com
"I got here early just to see, and that way I can prepare myself to get ready," Ruggiano said.
Ruggiano has been dealing with back stiffness for a while, which he said likely contributed to his oblique soreness. While cleared to play, Ruggiano said thoughts of his health issues are, understandably, not fully behind him yet.
"To say it's not in the back of [my] mind that I've had a tight oblique or a tight back -- it's probably in my mind," Ruggiano said. "I try not to think about it. I try once I hit the field to play my normal game. I've been dealing with a tight back; everything's kind of intertwined, the oblique and back kind of connect to each other. I'm just hoping this time I can keep it loose and be normal again."
Ruggiano said his oblique doesn't bother him when he throws. And he has to be sure he's loose before swinging the bat with ample stretching and warm-up swings.
"It seems like after I get loose, it feels like there's nothing there," Ruggiano said.
Bonifacio could lead NL in steals despite time on DL
DENVER -- Center fielder Emilio Bonifacio has had two tours on the disabled list, the second of which ended Sunday. He has missed significant time this season -- and yet, still has a chance to lead the National League in stolen bases.
Bonifacio has missed 60 games, including 46 when he initially went on the disabled list with a left thumb sprain that required surgery and the insertion of two pins in the thumb. That injury sidelined him from May 19-July 13, and Bonifacio again sprained the thumb Aug. 3 and missed 14 games.
Nonetheless, he entered Sunday with 30 stolen bases, which is a close second in the league. The Braves' Michael Bourn leads with 32 stolen bases. Bonifacio said it was "unbelievable" he is that close, and to lead the league in that category would be a meaningful achievement.
"With stolen bases, I can help the team win a ballgame," Bonifacio said. "Plus it's part of my game."
Bonifacio stole a career-high 40 bases last year when he tied for second in the league with Cameron Maybin, Drew Stubbs and Matt Kemp behind Bourn (61).
Stanton's homers at Coors a record for a visitor
DENVER -- Giancarlo Stanton entered Sunday with an opportunity to make even more home run history at Coors Field. On Saturday, he became the first visiting player to ever homer in his first six games at a particular ballpark.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the most consecutive games with a home run at one ballpark is seven, a feat that has never been accomplished by a visiting player. Roy Campanella of the Brooklyn Dodgers set the record at Ebbets Field in 1955. Willie Mays at Candlestick Park tied the mark in 1965 with the Giants.
Barry Bonds of the Giants had two straight games with a home run at what is now called AT&T Park. And after a game when he was intentionally walked in his only plate appearance, Bonds homered in his next five games there. Stanton is trying to become the first visiting player to homer in seven consecutive games at one ballpark.
Only two Rockies players have matched Stanton's accomplishment of homering in six consecutive games at Coors Field, according to Elias -- Dante Bichette in 1995 and Jeromy Burnitz in 2004.
Stanton entered Sunday's game hitting .391 (9-for-23) in six games at Coors Field with one double, six homers and 10 RBI.
Bell, Zambrano bonding in bullpen duty
DENVER -- Heath Bell began the year as the Marlins closer, and Carlos Zambrano was then in their rotation. Now both are in the bullpen, Zambrano pitching long relief and Bell working the eighth inning and setting up for closer Steve Cishek.
Bell and Zambrano are new to the Marlins this year. Bell said they developed a friendship in spring training. And because both are high-profile veterans who have faltered and fallen, they are kindred spirits.
"He's like been my mentor this year, more than he probably even knows," Bell said.
The Marlins continue their 11-game road trip with a four-game series at Arizona that includes a day-night doubleheader Wednesday. Those games will be the first doubleheader at Chase Field.
The Marlins historically have struggled at Chase Field, where they are 18-32 all time. However, that record is skewed by the first five seasons the teams played (1998-2002) when the Marlins went 4-15 at Arizona.
Jack Etkin is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.