Forgotten Twins Pitcher Impresses in Spotlight
Image courtesy of © Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY SportsHailing from Neenah, Wisconsin, Drew Rucinski is nearly “one of us.” The 31-year-old went to The Ohio State University and went undrafted. His major league debut came in 2014 and he compiled just over 50 career innings. After briefly playing on some good Angels teams he spent 2016 at Triple-A for the Cubs. With Minnesota scuffling, he parlayed success at Triple-A Rochester into a big league call-up during the 2017 season.
Rucinski made just two appearances for the Twins. His initial output was 3.1 innings against the Red Sox in early May. Giving up five hits he surrendered two runs while fanning five and walking just one. His final outing would come at the hands of that infamous, World Series-winning, Houston Astros team. Pounding the Twins to the tune of a 16-8 score, A.J. Hinch’s club hung three runs on five hits against Rucinski in just one inning of work.
The 2018 Marlins needed help almost everywhere on their roster, and Rucinski was able to carve out a regular role throwing over 35 innings for the club. His 4.33 ERA was respectable, but the peripherals didn’t provide much promise. Looking for a more lucrative opportunity, he journeyed abroad. After 177 innings with a 3.05 ERA in 2019, the former Twins was named the NC Dinos Opening Day starter for 2020.
After a rain delay (because why not with the way this year has gone) threatened the opening salvo, we eventually got both Karl Ravech and Eduardo Perez up at 1am eastern time to call action across the globe. It was an experience, and one that Ravech noted he’ll never forget multiple times. No fans were in the stands, but baseball being back prompted plenty of Americans staying up until the wee hours of the morning to catch the action.
Rucinski wasn’t dominant, as he issued four free passes, but he also was unfazed. Allowing just three hits and fanning six against a superior team on the road is no small feat. The contingent of fans tuning in to a major league game didn’t see it, and the competition isn’t on the same playing field either. Even with those caveats, you couldn’t water down the performance for Rucinski who is now on center stage getting airtime he was never received to here in his homeland.
Until we have a semblance of normalcy return, and a set parameters of how major league baseball will return to our lives, it’s the KBO that will take center stage. There are plenty of talented Koreans brandishing their abilities on a daily basis, but it might just be the random stories that pop up with the names you used to know that take hold. Tune in for the bat flips, stay up for the craziness, and really just enjoy the fact that we have baseball again.
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