MESA, Ariz. (AP) — After learning third baseman Ian Stewart would start the season on the disabled list and right-hander Scott Baker was being shut down because of inflammation in his surgically repaired elbow, the Chicago Cubs were looking for something positive.
Chris Rusin provided the smiles.
Rusin overcame a shaky start to pitch one-hit ball for the final three innings of his outing and the Cubs beat the Texas Rangers 5-4 Tuesday.
The 26-year-old left-hander could find himself on the big league club to start the season — or he might be sent to Triple-A to pitch on a more regular schedule.
"I don't ask questions. If they (coaches) want to tell me (where he is going), that is fine. I feel like I have had a pretty decent spring."
Stewart had not played for the Cubs this spring and re-injured the strained left quadriceps during a minor league game last week.
Baker signed as a free agent after having Tommy John surgery and missing all last season. He was shut down after a shaky start, his first against major leaguers.
Rusin began the spring with two relief appearances, followed by three starts, including Tuesday.
He was 2-3 in seven starts for the Cubs in 2012, and had 25 starts at Triple-A Iowa and one start at Double-A Tennessee.
It's unlikely he would be part of the Cubs' rotation, at least initially, although he could get a look in the bullpen with a spot-starting role as a possibility. If it is the bullpen, he said he would like to pitch in that situation a few times as the spring winds down.
As it stands now, the rotation includes Jeff Samardzija, Edwin Jackson, Travis Wood, Scott Feldman and Carlos Villanueva.
Samardzija is due to start the opener at Pittsburgh on April 1, with Jackson scheduled for the home opener against Milwaukee at Wrigley Field on April 8.
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