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Cubs' Rusin got early advice from Maddux

Cubs' Rusin got early advice from Maddux

Cubs' Rusin got early advice from Maddux

SAN FRANCISCO -- In 2010, when Chris Rusin was pitching for Class A Daytona, Greg Maddux was on the Cubs' staff as a consultant. Part of Maddux's duties included making stops at the Cubs' Minor League affiliates for a few days.

Rusin found himself sitting in the dugout next to Maddux for a game and took advantage of the opportunity.

"I only asked him one thing and it was how he gets the same two-seam movement on both sides of the plate and he gave me an example," Rusin said Sunday of the conversation. "He said if you're going to pick up a ball and throw it at a pole in front of you, you're going to line up and throw it at the pole.

"He said if you're going to throw a ball at a pole 20 feet to the right, you're going to pick up the ball and aim it at the pole 20 feet to the right. He said it's the same thing on the mound. If you want to throw your two-seam on the right side of the plate and have the same movement on the left side of the plate, you angle your foot a little bit to where you're more lined up with the right side of the plate. A little adjustment moves your body to throw to the target. That's what I've been working on is getting the same movement on both sides of the plate."

Maddux's strengths included being able to locate pitches and having movement on those pitches. Rusin relies on movement, too, and in his seven shutout innings against the Giants on Saturday, none of his pitches topped 90 mph. But he's no Maddux.

"[Maddux] relied on movement and he obviously has way more movement than I do, but he could locate everything on both sides of the plate, Rusin said.

Saturday was close.

"I just threw down what [catcher Dioner] Navarro called," Rusin said. "I hit the spot and got good results."

The lefty also opened some eyes.

"Performance is everything in this game," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "Usually, if you perform, you don't lose your job. He's changed a lot of minds moving forward."

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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