ST. PETERSBURG -- Justin Ruggiano has declined his assignment to Triple-A Durham, and the Rays outfielder will now become a free agent.
"Tampa Bay was like family," Ruggiano said. "But in the end, I didn't see much of an opportunity. Looking forward, I felt like it was best to try and go elsewhere. I will miss Tampa Bay, though. It's a great organization."
Ruggiano, 29, started the 2011 season at Durham but was recalled on May 20 and spent the remainder of the season on the Major League roster. He appeared in 46 games and hit .248 with four home runs and 13 RBIs.
Ruggiano came to the Rays along with Jae Seo and Dioner Navarro in a June 27, 2006, deal that sent Toby Hall, Mark Hendrickson and cash to the Dodgers.
Ruggiano has a .226 average with six home runs and 23 RBIs in 195 career Major League at-bats. He has a .295 average with 103 home runs and 474 RBIs in 766 Minor League games.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.