Inside Pitch: Baker Backing Rusch

Glendon Rusch fell to 0-2 and gave up four solo homers in a 9-2 loss to Cincinnati on Tuesday.

Rusch, who has enjoyed a nice career with the Cubs as both a starter and reliever the past two years, has given up six homers in two games.

"I thought I located well most of the afternoon," Rusch said. "But on the times I didn't locate the ball, they hit them for home runs. It was a tough, tough, day."

Cubs manager Dusty Baker said he is not ready to give up on Rusch this early.

"We're a little thin right now," Baker said. "And we know what Glendon is capable of."

REPLAY: The wind was blowing out of Wrigley Field for the first time this season on Tuesday, and Cincinnati hitters jumped on Cubs pitching for six homers in a 9-2 victory.

Rusch gave up four solo home runs in the first four innings, while relief pitcher Will Ohman gave up a grand slam to Edwin Encarnacion and a solo shot by Austin Kearns. The last time the Cubs gave up six or more homers in a game came on Sept. 9, 2000, when they gave up seven to Houston at Wrigley Field.


--RF Jacque Jones left Tuesday's game against Cincinnati with a moderate strained right hamstring. He received an MRI in the afternoon, but the Cubs did not reveal the results. He is listed as day-to-day.

--3B Aramis Ramirez left Tuesday's game with a tweak to his left hamstring during a swing. After the game, Ramirez said he was fine but would not predict if he would be able to start Wednesday against Cincinnati.

--OF Angel Pagan replaced Jacque Jones in right field in Tuesday's game against Cincinnati after Jones left in the sixth inning with a strained right hamstring. If Jones is out for any length of time, Pagan hopes to pick up some of his playing time. Pagan is a switch hitter who was impressive in spring training with both his speed and his power.

--1B Derrek Lee became the highest-paid Cub on the current roster when he inked a five-year, $65 million deal Tuesday. The extension, which features a no-trade clause, starts with this season and runs through 2010. The Cubs don't figure that Lee, who gave the Triple Crown a challenge last year, will tail off now that he is making the big money.

"Over a three-year period, we've seen consistency in the way he carries himself," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said. "I don't think he will be changed."

--RHP Mark Prior (shoulder injury) threw 30 pitches from the mound in a bullpen session at Wrigley Field and uncorked a few breaking pitches toward the end of the session. Prior will return to Mesa, Ariz., to do more side and mound work before he takes the next step: facing hitters. The Cubs have no timetable for his return.

--RHP Kerry Wood (shoulder surgery, knee surgery) threw 60 pitches to hitters in a session in Mesa, Ariz., on Monday. His velocity topped off in the mid 90 mph range. He may head out for a minor league rehab assignment in a week or two.

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