Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton took batting practice Thursday and expects to play Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener, but outfielder Justin Ruggiano is out with a sore back.
Stanton said he felt better a day after being struck in the back of the head by a fastball that got away from prospect Jose Fernandez during a practice game Wednesday.
“We’re excited. Obviously, we dodged a bullet there,’’ manager Mike Redmond said.
Stanton said X-rays on his head were negative.
“It all checked out fine,’’ he said. “I was pretty loopy, I must say, (Wednesday), but for the most part I feel fine.’’
Ruggiano – Miami’s projected starting center fielder — was forced to cut short his daily drills because of lower back stiffness. He is day-to-day.
Ruggiano said he felt discomfort while fielding a ground ball. He missed action last season because of back pain, but still hit 13 home runs and batted .313 in 91 games.
“It’s not fun. It’s annoying. I’m frustrated and angry that I haven’t got a hold on why it keeps happening,’’ he said.
“I haven’t had this before ever until last year. Why it’s happening, I have no idea.’’
LoMo runs: First baseman Logan Morrison started running Thursday on an anti-gravity treadmill, the first time he has run since having surgery in September on his right knee.
His running program will last a month. His readiness for opening day is doubtful.
First baseman Casey Kotchman said the swelling in his left ring finger — he cut it Monday — has improved but it’s still too stiff for any baseball activities.