3/14 Rusin rolls vs. Dodgers

Chris Rusin was a little concerned about his outing Thursday when he walked Dodgers leadoff batter Mark Ellis on four pitches.

“I didn’t know where it was going to go after that,” the left-hander said. “I settled down, started throwing strikes, and just worried about location instead of trying to throw it by hitters because I’m not that kind of guy.”

Rusin did just that, holding the Dodgers to one hit over five scoreless innings. The only walk was to Ellis, and he struck out one, and this was against Los Angeles’ “A” lineup which included Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and Adrian Gonzalez.

“I didn’t know I’d do that well against them today,” Rusin said. “I had movement and had early action and kept my defenders on their toes and not on their heels.”

Rusin could be an option for the Cubs bullpen. Right now, the only left-hander set is James Russell and there are openings.

“I don’t really think about that at all,” he said. “I just go out there and if they tell me to pitch, I’ll pitch. If they want me to throw two innings, I’ll throw two innings, if it’s five, like I did today — whatever they want me to do, I’ll do.”

He got a taste of the big leagues last year when called up from Triple-A Iowa in late August. In seven starts, he was 2-3 with a 6.37 ERA. The only time the lefty has pitched in relief has been in Spring Training last year and this year.

“If they tell me to bat in the four-hole, I’ll go in and bat in the four-hole,” Rusin said of his willingness to do whatever the Cubs want. “I probably won’t get a hit but that’s what I’ll do.”

Last season will definitely help the lefty, wherever he ends up.

“I feel getting my feet wet last year [in the big leagues] will help me if I get up there this year,” Rusin said.

— Carrie Muskat


Rusin Rocks!!!!!

There is no reason to not keep him on the big team. He has a great era and pitches well.

I can think of a few reasons to not keep him on the big team:
1) There are 5 starters better than him, and that doesn’t include Matt Garza or Scott Baker, both of whom will probably start the year on the DL.
2) They know not to get excited over a 5-inning performance in spring training.
3) They want to keep him stretched out in case they need to plug him into the rotation later in the season due to injuries or trades. Having him make the team as a lefty specialist out of the bullpen will not do this.
4) They saw him pitch at the major league level last year and know he’s still a long way from being an effective major league pitcher. Not to mention his mediocre performance at AAA and the fact that known sucky pitcher Brooks Raley got called up ahead of Rusin.
5) They think he’ll be better off learning how to pitch at AAA than he would being learning how to pitch while being pounded in the majors.

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