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Elephant Rumblings: Rucinski hopes to play workhorse role in MLB return

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Doosan Bears v NC Dinos - Korean Series Game 1 Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Happy Wednesday, Athletics Nation!

Recently acquired starting pitcher Drew Rucinski has been in professional baseball since 2011, but he’s only logged 54 innings in the majors. However, he’s been a true workhorse overseas in the KBO for the past four years, making him a strong candidate for the A’s rotation in the coming season.

In a profile of the 34-year-old righty, Jack Magruder at noted that Rucinski pitched 734⅔ innings through his past four seasons pitching in Korea. His production through that period is a portrait of consistency, as Rucinski started between 30 and 33 starts as well as between 177 and 193 innings pitched in each of those KBO seasons.

Rucinski, who signed a one-year, $3 million contract with the A’s for 2023, played a key role in the NC Dinos’ successful 2020 Korean Series championship run, winning 19 games in the regular season and two more in the postseason.

Furthermore, Rucinski’s KBO stats indicate a strong goodness-of-fit with playing conditions at the Oakland Coliseum: he’s established a reputation for pumping strikes with a five-pitch mix, and he recorded a 2.68 groundball-to-flyball ratio that should play well at pitcher-friendly Rickey Henderson field.

“I want to be part of something building [in Oakland],” said Rucinski.

Given his age, it may be difficult to imagine that Rucinski will still be around when the A’s next window of contention opens, but the A’s starters surprise us all the time.

Welcome to Oakland and good luck in Spring Training, Drew Rucinski!

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