Kentucky Baseball alumnus Chris Rusin will be making his Major League Baseball debut this evening. In doing so, Rusin becomes the first former Kentucky Wildcat to debut with the Chicago Cubs since Scott Downs did so against the Cincinnati Reds on April 9, 2000.
Rusin was drafted by the Cubs in the fourth round of the 2009 draft after finishing his career at Kentucky. Drafted in the 23rd round as a junior, Rusin returned for his senior season. In four years, he put up a record of 23-11 and an ERA of 4.14 ERA.
Playing for the Iowa Cubs (AAA, Pacific Coast League) this season, Rusin has a 8-8 record over 24 starts with a 4.59 ERA. In 133.2 innings this season, Rusin struck out 87 and walked 52.
According to the Chicago Tribune, it is not known as to whether this is an audition for the rest of the season or just a one day start before returning to the minor leagues.
“I have no idea,” he said. “They just told me I was starting and I’ll go from there.”
A report at ESPN seems to be similar in belief as to what to expect this season with the rookie.
“He’ll just get that one for now and as we move forward we’ll see what’s going on,” manager Dale Sveum said.
While at Kentucky, Rusin left the school in a three-way tie second place for career wins with 23. Only Jay Ray finished his career with more wins (24, 1982-85)/ His .677 winning percentage as a pitcher was good enough for 4th place. He ranked fourth place in games started (45) and is tied for 10th in complete games as a Wildcat. His 302 1/3 innings pitched at Kentucky ties him for 3rd place with Paul Kilgus. Ironically, Rusin ranked second only to Scott Downs in career strikeouts. Rusin struck out 274 while Downs struck out 293.
Rusin was a member of the Kentucky team that won the SEC Championship in 2006. His debut marks the second Wildcat debut in the last two seasons. Collin Cowgill made his debut last year with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Currently, there are four Wildcats in the pros. Rusin will join Cowgill, Joe Blanton, and Scott Downs.
On Tuesday night, Chris Rusin will join the list of Kentucky alumni to play in Major League Baseball. Regardless of whether one supports the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, or even the St. Louis Cardinals, fans of the University of Kentucky want to see him have a successful career in the pros.