As first reported by Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Cubs have avoided salary arbitration with outfielder Justin Ruggiano by reaching a one-year, $2 million contract for 2014. Ruggiano asked for $2.45 million and was offered $1.6 million when arbitration figures were exchanged earlier this month.
The Cubs acquired Ruggiano from the Marlins in early December for Brian Bogusevic and will use him as an active fourth outfielder this season.
Ruggiano, 31, batted .222/.298/.396 with 18 home runs and 15 stolen bases in 128 games last year for Miami. He hit .313/.374/.535 with 13 homers and 14 steals in 80 games for the Fish in 2012.
The Padres are set to recall top infield prospect Luis Urías from Triple-A El Paso, according to a report from Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. It’ll be the second such stint for the club’s no. 2 prospect, and one they hope to extend through the end of the season. A corresponding roster move will be announced later this weekend.
Urías, 22, struggled in his first promotion to the majors this April. Touted as “one of the Minors’ better pure hitters” with “innate bat-to-ball skills” and “plus on-base skills,” he found it difficult to adjust to big league pitching and slashed a lackluster .083/.241/.125 with just two hits and four walks over 11 games with the Padres.
Upon his return to Triple-A, however, the young middle infielder has delivered nothing short of spectacular results, batting .315/.398/.600 with 19 home runs, seven stolen bases (in nine chances), and a .998 OPS across 339 plate appearances. Given the additional measures he’s taken to improve his mechanics — something, Acee says, the Padres are far more interested in than his results at the plate — it seems he may be ready to handle the competition at the highest level on a long-term basis.
Urías is expected to be recalled in time for the Padres’ game against the Cubs on Saturday, where he’ll likely share the middle infield with fellow top prospect Fernando Tatís. The game is set for 2:20 PM EDT.