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Dodgers outfielder Justin Ruggiano elects free agency

Dodgers outfielder Justin Ruggiano elects free agency
Dodgers' Justin Ruggiano bats against Colorado on Sept. 27. (David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

File this one under: It was fun while it lasted.

Outfielder Justin Ruggiano, the late-season pickup who became something of an unexpected September starter against left-handers, has become a free agent.

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The Dodgers assigned him to triple-A Oklahoma City on Thursday night to open room on their 40-man roster, and having enough service time to reject it and become a free agent, he did exactly that Friday morning.

Ruggiano, 33, appeared in 21 games for the Dodgers after they purchased him from the Mariners on Aug. 31. He batted .291 with four homers, four doubles and 12 RBI. Ruggiano had a .968 OPS for the Dodgers, made the playoff roster and started Game 4, going hitless in four postseason at-bats.

With Yasiel Puig out with a strained hamstring, he received more September playing time than expected and delivered better than most would have hoped.

The Dodgers, however, have a surplus of outfielders and Ruggiano would have been eligible for salary arbitration if he had remained on the roster.

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