Q&A with Chris Rusin

The Chicago Cubs went with left-hander Chris Rusin from the University of Kentucky with their fourth-round pick in this year's amateur player draft. Rusin, 22, led Kentucky starting pitchers this season with seven wins and a 4.20 ERA in 13 starts over 94 1/3 innings. He struck out 108 batters and walked 27.

Rusin was selected in the 23rd round by the Oakland A's in 2008, but returned to Kentucky for his senior season. He spent four seasons in Lexington, compiling 23 wins and a 4.14 ERA in over 300 innings in his collegiate career. This past season, Rusin returned to the mound after undergoing surgery in October to repair a torn muscle in his forearm. He logged career-high's in innings pitched and strikeouts.

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Q: Were you satisfied with your season in the SEC this past year?

A: I thought it was a lot better than (2008). I was completely healthy this year with no arm problems that held me back. I got a lot better and had more control over my pitches. My ERA was up a little bit, but my strikeouts were up as well and that kind of canceled each other out. But I was 23-11 in my four years at Kentucky. I don't know; I just thought I did a lot better this year and the biggest thing was that I wasn't injured. When I'm healthy, things go right for me.

Q: Can you talk about your injury?

A: I had a minor tear … in my forearm muscle, and they went in and scoped it. I tried rehabbing it all summer and was going to try and throw a bullpen for the Oakland Athletics, but I couldn't get healthy and was still sore. I had the surgery in October. They scoped it and cleaned it out and it was four weeks of recovery, and then I started throwing again. I was ready by the first game of the season.

Q: Did you feel any stress on your arm once you came back?

A: It was a ton of pressure on me (personally) because I needed my arm to be healthy. I had a choice to red-shirt or just go out there and chance it, and the surgery worked. I got stronger as the season went on. I just had to get back into mid-season form.

Q: Everyone agrees that you're not necessarily an overpowering lefty, but that you compete well and have a lot of pitchability. Is that a good summation from where you sit?

A: Yeah, I don't throw 95 or 96 (mph) so I have to find other ways to win and get guys out. Like most guys do in the majors or minors, they try to keep hitters off-balance. So it's all about location and keeping hitters (guessing). That is the biggest key to a non-overpowering pitcher.

Q: In your own words, can you break down your repertoire of pitches?

A: I have a four-seam and two-seam fastball and then I have a cutter, a curveball and a changeup. I just use all of my pitches. This year was the year that I could use any pitch in any count in any inning. I didn't have any trouble finding any of my pitches as opposed to last year when it would take me a couple of innings to find certain pitches.

Q: Your curveball, is it a traditional curve or more of a hard curve, as in a slurve?

A: It's more of a (traditional) curve. My cutter is more like a slider and I go with that as more of a slurve.

Q: Have you and the Cubs begun talking contract?

A: It started (Friday). My advisor is taking care of that and he's keeping me updated. We're going to talk more and the scout is coming to visit with me to talk about pro ball.

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