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Rusin throws off mound, could return this week

Left-hander on DL with right intercostal muscle strain
Special to MLB.com

MIAMI -- The Rockies' relief corps could get a lift soon if all continues to go well for left-hander Chris Rusin. The 31-year-old threw a bullpen session prior to Sunday's 3-0 loss to Miami at Marlins Park.

It marked Rusin's first time throwing off a mound since going on the 10-day disabled list last Monday with a right intercostal muscle strain.

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MIAMI -- The Rockies' relief corps could get a lift soon if all continues to go well for left-hander Chris Rusin. The 31-year-old threw a bullpen session prior to Sunday's 3-0 loss to Miami at Marlins Park.

It marked Rusin's first time throwing off a mound since going on the 10-day disabled list last Monday with a right intercostal muscle strain.

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Rusin said he threw a couple of days in a row prior to Sunday's bullpen and continues to progress toward a return.

"I'm pretty excited about it, feeling good, progressing," Rusin said on Sunday morning. "If all goes as planned, I'll be back in no time."

Manager Bud Black said he anticipates a return sooner rather than later. Rusin is eligible to come off the DL on Wednesday. Colorado continues its road trip on Monday at Wrigley Field.

"We're really optimistic about his return when his DL stint is up," Black said. "There's a really good chance that he might throw a simulated game in Chicago early in the afternoon just to get on the mound and face some of our hitters."

Video: COL@ARI: Rusin retires Avila to strand the bases full

That would be one of the final steps toward bringing Rusin off the DL.

"And then we'll make a decision on Chris soon thereafter," said Black. "He's doing really well."

Rusin is coming off a career year with the Rockies. He pitched in a career-high 60 games with a career-low 2.65 ERA. In eight games so far this season, Rusin has struck out 11 batters over 12 1/3 innings while posting a 4.97 ERA.

The former starter threw two complete games for the Rockies over 22 starts in 2015. He started just seven games the following season while transitioning to the bullpen, appearing in a total of 29 games.

LeMahieu out of lineup
Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu was out of the starting lineup for the second consecutive game after leaving Friday's win with right hamstring tightness.

Though progress is being made, Black said he couldn't say when LeMahieu would return.

"There's progress for sure," Black said. "I can't put a timetable on it, but I'm encouraged by what I'm hearing from DJ and the medical staff."

Video: COL@MIA: Urena nabs LeMahieu at second, call stands

Black said the same thing about Carlos Gonzalez, who remains on the 10-day DL with a right hamstring strain, despite being eligible to come off on Sunday.

"He's closer than you think," Black said of CarGo's return.

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami.

Colorado Rockies, Chris Rusin