PHILADELPHIA -- Justin Ruggiano saw the latest phase of the Marlins' rebuilding program while spending the previous two seasons in Miami after 2,910 at-bats in the minors.
As frustrating as it was for Marlins players and fans to see veterans such as Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes and Josh Johnson dealt, encouraging returns are starting to surface as the Marlins are within striking distance in the National League East.
Before left-hander Travis Wood threw eight innings of three-hit ball Sunday in a 3-0 win over the Phillies, Ruggiano said he sees the same potential for the Cubs, provided they maintain the same ingredient their fans have heard for several years -- patience.
"The thing is, everyone's been saying it, but you have to have patience," said Ruggiano, who singled and scored in the third. "You can't rush the kids from the minor leagues. I don't know how many minor league at-bats I had, but I guarantee you I needed every bit of them."
Behind Wood (7-5), who allowed no hits through 51/3 innings; Anthony Rizzo, who hit his sixth home run in 15 games and made a leaping stop to rob Ben Revere of an extra-base hit in the eighth; and Starlin Castro, who had three hits, the Cubs won their first road series since Sept. 9-11 in Cincinnati.
"There probably was a question earlier about his power numbers," manager Rick Renteria said of Rizzo, who has 14 home runs. "Power doesn't disappear. As he continues to become a better hitter, his strength will play itself into the game."
As Cubs fans brace themselves for a sell-off of veterans, such as pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, Ruggiano believes the success of prospects in the minors sometimes can lead to false assumptions.
One case involves Javier Baez and pleas for him to be promoted from Double-A Tennessee to the majors late last season. Baez started this season at Triple-A Iowa, where he has struggled.
"There would be stretches when you feel you're invincible, like you feel you can hit anything," Ruggiano said. "But it takes those times, and then struggling afterward, to learn to get out of it and stay more even-keel."
Ruggiano expressed a strong opinion about the suggestion to promote Kris Bryant to the majors from Tennessee, where he is batting .355 with 22 home runs and 57 RBIs.
"No," Ruggiano said. "I think it's time for him to move up a level, no doubt. But you don't want to rush anyone to the big leagues, especially with that amount of talent, because no matter what, when you get here, especially as a young player, the game speeds up. And if you're trying to make adjustments when the game is sped up on you, the game is much harder.
"(The Cubs) are handling it the right way. I see where the Marlins are doing the same thing."
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