LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Cubs Thursday swapped outfielders with the Marlins, sending Brian Bogusevic to Miami for a much needed right-handed bat: Justin Ruggiano.
The Cubs already have left-handed-hitting Nate Schierholtz and Ryan Sweeney, and they were looking for someone to help against southpaw pitchers. Ruggiano, 31, who can play all three outfield positions, has a .281 batting average over the last two seasons against left-handed pitching.
"We like Bogusevic a lot but feel it's a better fit for our roster to get a guy who hits left-handed pitching well," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. "He can platoon with one of several guys we have and play all three outfield positions. Sometimes it is about fit. Brian did a really good job for us. Ruggiano fits our roster better, and we're excited to work out a deal for him."
The newest Cub has spent all or part of five Major League seasons with Tampa Bay (2007-08, 2011) and Miami (2012-13), batting .251 with 49 doubles, 37 home runs and 109 RBIs in 317 games.
Last season, he hit 15 of his 18 home runs on the road, and the Cubs feel the move to a smaller ballpark could help.
The Cubs' outfield appears to be set. They got good reports on Junior Lake's outfield play in the Dominican Republic, and project him to be a regular in 2014.
"We didn't have that veteran right-handed bat who can platoon and hit lefties," Hoyer said about acquiring Ruggiano. "The only way Junior is going to get better is by playing. We're excited about the winter that Junior has had. He's built on a really strong season and has continued to play really well in winter ball."
Bogusevic, who turns 30 in February, batted .273 with six home runs and 16 RBIs in 47 games with the Cubs last year. He signed a Minor League contract with the Cubs prior to the 2013 campaign.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.