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Lefty Rusin gains experience in Spring Training

Lefty Rusin gains experience in Spring Training

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Cubs pitcher 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-handed Rusin 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."

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Rusin did just that, holding the Dodgers to one hit and that one walk over five scoreless innings. He also 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," Rusin 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."

Rusin 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 is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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