Although Chris Rusin stated that he prefers being a starter rather than a reliever, his 2016 stats suggested that he should stick to being a long reliever in the Rockies bullpen. The left-hander was afforded the opportunity to start eight games early on in the season, and the results were unspectacular: 4.53 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 6.6 K/9. Unfortunately, he headed to the disabled list with a shoulder injury just as he had carved out a full-time role in the rotation. Upon his return, there was no room for him in the rotation, so the 29-year-old went back to the bullpen and posted a 3.03 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and a career-best 9.1 K/9 over the last two months of the season. Rusin doesn't overwhelm anyone with his repertoire, but he has proven to be a serviceable member of the Rockies pitching staff. That being said, he'll likely only garner occasional spot starts considering the wealth of young starting pitchers the Rockies have and the success the lefty had out of the bullpen.
Rusin threw 3.1 innings in relief of Jon Gray (toe) on Thursday to get the win in a 3-1 victory over the Giants, allowing one run on two hits while striking out two. The 30-year-old lefty has looked good in long relief to begin the season, posting a 1.69 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 4:0 K:BB through 5.1 innings over two appearances. If Gray's latest toe issue costs him any starts Rusin could be an option to fill in, but more likely the Rockies will keep him in his current role and have him provide support for whichever younger pitcher gets the next audition in their rotation.
Rusin (oblique) was activated from the 10-day disabled list Sunday, Jenny Cavnar of ROOT Sports reports. Rusin missed the first week of the season with a sprained oblique, but the injury was never deemed too serious as the 30-year-old is set to return to the Rockies' bullpen following his short DL stint. He'll work in middle and long relief to begin the season.
Rusin (oblique) will pitch Thursday for Triple-A Albuquerque, MLB.com's Thomas Harding reports. Rusin's injury took him out of the competition for a rotation spot, but the Rockies still hope he can help the big-league squad as a middle/long reliever. He'll throw 45 pitches or three innings in Thursday's rehab appearance -- a workload which suggests he should be available April 12 when he's eligible to come off the 10-day disabled list
Rusin (oblique) was placed on the 10-day disabled list Sunday. Rusin strained his oblique on March 3 and has been ramping up his rehab during the past few weeks. Though he'll miss Opening Day, the team is hoping that he'll be ready to go when he comes off of the disabled list on April 12.
Rusin (oblique) will pitch in a minor-league game Friday, Nick Groke and Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post report. The left-hander is expected to log two innings (or roughly 30 pitches) in order to restart his progression toward being the Rockies' primary long-relief option. It seems like Rusin is nearing his return to the major-league bullpen, but in the meantime, whichever hurler of Kyle Freeland, Antonio Senzatela and German Marquez who doesn't make the rotation is expected to pair with Jordan Lyles to fill the void left by Rusin's absence.