Another day, another rookie making his debut for the 2012 Cubs.

That’ll be the case tomorrow night when lefty Chris Rusin faces the Milwaukee Brewers. Dale Sveum earlier hinted that it was a possibility, but today the Cubs confirmed that Rusin would be called up to make tomorrow night’s start.

Rusin, 25, currently sports a 4.59 ERA and a 1.455 WHIP over 24 starts and 133.1 innings at AAA Iowa this year. Historically an impressive control-guy, Rusin’s walks have spiked this year to a 3.5 BB/9 rate, the worst in any of his three full minor league seasons. His Ks, unfortunately, have dipped at the same time, from a mark that was around 7 per 9 entering the year, and currently stand at just 5.9 per 9. He’s had an up and down season on the whole, at times dominating, and other times getting roughed up. Such is life in the PCL.

Rusin works on the slower side of the fastball spectrum, sitting in the high-80s/low-90s range. His success is predicated on keeping hitters off balance, and working in the zone. In some ways, he sounds a bit like a couple other lefties currently in the rotation (Travis Wood and Brooks Raley), though I’m not sure their approach is quite the same. His upside, like so many starters in the Cubs’ system, is that of a 4/5 starter. It was time to get him a look, and he’s got a shot at holding down a rotation spot next year, but that shot is rather slim.

Absent an injury or trade or someone getting bounced from the rotation (which seems unlikely), this is probably a one-off start for Rusin, as Brooks Raley is expected to remain in the rotation for now. Perhaps when/if the Cubs decide to end Jeff Samardzija’s season early, Rusin could get a few more starts. The alternative, of course, would be to go with a six-man rotation in September, which might not be the worst idea in the world, given what this September is going to be all about (evaluation).

The corresponding roster moves (25-man and 40-man) haven’t yet been announced, and almost certainly won’t be until tomorrow. Best bet is that someone of little interest is bounced from the 40-man, and a bullpen arm is temporarily demoted (after Rusin starts, that demoted bullpenner could be replaced by recently-claimed Alex Hinshaw, who will also need a spot opened up on the roster this week).

  • MightyBear

    Good. Glad to see it. I said a few weeks ago Rusin should get a shot. Let’s see what he’s got.

  • MoneyBoy

    I’m with you on all counts Brett!!!

    I remember RizzOMG saying the minor leaguers were excited to see their own get shots with the parent club. Even if it a one-off, it’s still a major league game!!

    I would love to see a 6 man in September!! Why not? Give these guys a taste, see how they do, and it can be the carrot dangled for the winter and spring training.

    With but a few exceptions, the 2012 Opening Day roster will make a great “Where Are They Now” post in 2015!!! No charge, of course, Brett!!

  • CubFan Paul

    Yikes in a bad way at our six man rotation


    But at least we’ll find a 5th starter for 2013 out of the bunch (Samardzija is the 2nd starter as of now behind Garza)

  • cubsin

    Rusin will be the 11th Cubs starter this season. In contrast, the Reds had only used five starters all year until their doubleheader with the Cubs last week. When Hinshaw throws his first pitch as a Cub, he’ll be the 26th pitcher for the Cubs this season. Isn’t the all-time record something like 27 or 28?

  • cubsin

    I’m still not sure what the all-time record for pitchers used in a season is, but the Blue Jayss have already used 31 this year, so we probably won’t break the record this year.

  • Nick Nesler

    Off topic, but I saw where Lucas Giolito hurt his arm again after only two innings into his pro debut. He scheduled to see Dr. Yocom (spelling?). He could still turn out to be great but im glad we didn’t take a shot on this kid.

  • http://deleted Mr. Gonzo


    Why doesn’t a young team like Washington, who may be to shut down Strasburg despite a playoff run, go with a six-man rotation all year long?

    I realize that it can be difficult to find six awesome pitchers in the first place – not to mention keeping them healthy and paid well enough – but wouldn’t that thwart any possibility of a shut-down situation, and keep your young pitching staff healthy throughout their peak years?

    I ask this because, in a magical land of my Cubs’ daydreams, we have an overabundance of lights-out SP by 2020…

    • Brett

      Well, I’m sure there are a lot of reasons (you named the big one), but guys are used to pitching every five days. That’s their routine, and I’m sure it would be a little tricky to break them all of it over the course of a full season.

      Teams are definitely thinking more and more outside the box like that, though.

  • steve

    I’m kinda worried about our rotation next year. Garza’s likely gone this winter, leaving shark as our ace. Shark has upside, but I don’t know, he’ll either develop into a solid #2 or a decent #3, I don’t see an ace type with him. Wood has a spot locked down, germano likely as well. That will leave two spots for maybe a prospect we get in the garza deal, hopefully we sign a solid pitcher or two for the rotation. That will leave germano, raley, rusin to compete at the five spot. I just don’t see us being able to sign two solid top of the rotation types at this point. I’m scared…………

  • cubs2014

    I think you have to bring back garza and hopefully sign him up. He is probably pretty cheap right now. Your #2 n 3 starters are below average at 4.50 combined era. So you need to find a decent FA. If not we need to find 2 starters from this crew: Raley, Rusin, Kirk, Ramirez, Volstad, Coleman if we could get a combined era of 4.50 from 2 of these that would be average era’s for NL staffs. Otherwise it will be really bad next year.

    • cubs2014

      4.50 era is average for #4 and 5 starters in NL

      • cubs2014

        what about randy wells he finished 09 with 10th best era 3.08 and has gone down hill ever since. I think he is still under contract with the cubs?

  • Fastball

    At this point Shark is the only pitcher in this rotation that is pretty much solid in a rotation for next year. Maybe Wood. This is what we need for next year. I am making a big assumption that Wood makes the starting rotation. I could see him in the BP along with Raley or even a Rusin. Cubs need to start thinking about a BP for next year that actually has pitchers in it who can pitch. Our BP is the worst in baseball and our starting rotation has to be the worst in baseball. If I’m Theo, I’m looking for a bunch of Paul Maholm’s as soon as this season is over. I think we had a good pitcher that we could have kept.

    1. Open
    2. Garza
    3. Shark
    4. Open
    5. Wood

    • CubFan Paul

      1. Garza
      2. Free Agent/Trade
      3. Shark
      4. T.Wood
      5. Vizcaiano

      The Lukewarm stove will awesome this year