Valbuena, Rusin lead Cubs over White Sox 7-0

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 21, 2014 at 7:47 pm •  Published: March 21, 2014
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GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Luis Valbuena hit a three-run homer just inside the right field foul pole to highlight the Chicago Cubs' 7-0 win Friday over the crosstown rival Chicago White Sox.

Cubs pitcher Chris Rusin helped his bid for a roster spot by holding the White Sox to two hits in five innings. Four relievers shut out the White Sox the rest of the way.

"I was able to pound the zone again with strikes with all my pitches," Rusin said. "The defense played real well behind me. They helped me a lot.

"I just need to work on my curveball for strikes, and that's what I did today. So far, things are going as planned."

In 20 starts for the Cubs over the last two seasons, Rusin is 4-9 with a 4.69 ERA. The left-hander said he is trying not to think too much about his fate when spring training ends, but "you've got to figure out where you're going to live. So you start to think about it a little."

"My confidence is very high. I had a great spring last year, too. This year, I followed it up with another great spring. That's big," he said.

White Sox starter John Danks gave up four runs and six hits in five innings, including Valbuena's homer. White Sox reliever Matt Lindstrom, coming back from an oblique strain, pitched a scoreless inning in his first Cactus League appearance.

Valbuena was 2 for 3 with four RBIs, raising his batting average to .276. Cubs designated hitter Mike Olt went 2 for 4 and lifted his average to .289.

STARTING TIME

Cubs: Regardless of whether he makes the big club, Rusin said he's "ready for it all."

"I'm not going to hang my head. Just get better. That's all I've got to tell myself," he said.

White Sox: Danks is 0-1 with a 3.50 ERA this spring.

"I was able to throw all my pitches, and I feel good about where I'm at," he said. "The goal today was to not walk anybody. I did that. The fastball command is not quite where we want it, but it's better than it's been."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Cubs: Manager Rick Renteria is so confident that shortstop Starlin Castro will return in time for opening day that a backup plan is "not even under consideration at this point."

Castro is recovering from a hamstring injury.

"All indications are he's 100 percent, so it shouldn't be an issue," Renteria said.