MILWAUKEE -- It was a long time between home runs for Bryan LaHair.
On Wednesday, he hit his first blast since July 4, connecting on a leadoff homer in the seventh in the Cubs' 3-2 loss to the Brewers.
"Any time you can get a result after hard work, it shows hard work can pay off," LaHair said. "I'll take it."
He's gone from being the Cubs' starting first baseman and All-Star to a spot starter in right field and left-handed bat off the bench.
"It's definitely tough," LaHair said. "It's not something I'm used to, and not something I like. I'm trying to do the best job I can possibly do."
Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Wednesday he'd like to see players see more pitches in their at-bats and "grind them out." LaHair knows what he means.
"I feel like I grind out most at-bats," LaHair said. "I see a ton of pitches. Very rarely do I ever go up and come right back. Usually, that brings a lot of success, and obviously, it hasn't as of late. I know it will and I'll keep doing what I do."
Now, he's being asked to help some of the young players learn that.
"You go up and just swing at everything, you won't have much success," LaHair said. "It's usually the other way around -- when you see a lot of pitches, you have a lot of success. Battling tough pitches to get that next pitch is key to grinding out an at-bat. You get that pitch or two, you want to do something with it."
Right now, he'd like to get more chances to do that. What about next year?
"I just want to be in the big leagues. I want the opportunity, and whatever opportunity comes my way, I'm going to try to do the best I can," he said.
Rusin debuts in front of scores of family, friends
MILWAUKEE -- Chris Rusin will need some more display space at home after his Major League debut Tuesday. The Cubs pitcher had souvenir balls from his first strikeout, first hit and first game, plus other tokens from the game, a 5-2 loss to the Brewers.
Rusin had a huge cheering section as about 40 family members and friends made the seven-hour drive from Michigan to Milwaukee.
"There were people I didn't even know who showed up," Rusin said Wednesday. "They're crazy. They did the same thing [for his starts at Triple-A Iowa]. They'd drive nine hours and the next morning, they'd be out."
Rusin's mother was crying after the game, but they were tears of joy.
"She was an emotional wreck," the lefty said. "It made her happy. They're proud of me. I expected her to cry."
What's next for Rusin? He's not sure. Cubs manager Dale Sveum said the club will address the roster Friday. Right now, the Cubs have six starting pitchers. For Rusin, he's still a little numb.
"I don't think it's set in," said the lefty, who gave up one run on one hit over five innings. "It'll take awhile. I'm trying to do the same thing I've been doing all year and not think too much about it."
Rizzo keeps faith at plate despite downturn
MILWAUKEE -- Anthony Rizzo wasn't going to hit .330 every month, although he did in July, but the Cubs' rookie first baseman has scuffled in August, hitting .244.
"I'm just not feeling that great at the plate," Rizzo said before a 3-2 loss to the Brewers. "There are pitches I could hit that I've kind of rolled over. It's frustrating, but it is what it is."
Rizzo's strikeout numbers are up, which is not a good sign. Maybe the other teams simply have a better scouting report? He said the Brewers have mixed up the pitches to him, staying away on Monday and throwing inside more on Tuesday.
"It's just about hitting the pitches they give me, the good pitches," he said.
Wednesday was Rizzo's 50th game with the Cubs. He played 49 games last season with the Padres -- 35 in late June and July, then another 14 in September.
"This is the most I've played," he said. "Last year, I played in September, too, but I didn't really play. You have to keep staying turned on. It's fun coming to the park every day and competing. I'm not doing that great right now, but it's fun. I wouldn't say it's fun going through these [losing streaks]."
Cubs manager Dale Sveum has seen a change.
"He's fallen into a little bit of the pitch selection and [has been] caught in between -- 'Do I take? Do I swing at the first pitch?'" Sveum said. "I think he's going through a lot of that instead of having the same thought of just getting a good pitch."
The Cubs as a team rank last in on-base percentage, walks and runs in the National League.
"You can't think about situations all the time," Sveum said. "You have to just apply yourself and produce in the situation at hand. You can't think, 'I've got to do this, I've got to do this.' You have to have the same game plan all the time. That's what I think we struggle with is the game plans go out the window too often."
Cubs closer Carlos Marmol had a large bandage on his right ankle after being spiked on a play at first by the Brewers' Jean Segura.
"He got me good," said Marmol, who did not appear Wednesday despite being available.
Marmol has converted his last 14 save opportunities dating to May 2.
Sveum would like to see some of the young players on the Cubs' roster get more at-bats in the winter leagues.
"I think the more baseball you play, the better you'll be," Sveum said.
Would Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson be the guys who should go?
"I don't know if it's going to happen," Sveum said. "But off the top of my head, those are guys who should play winter ball. Go and play as much as you can, get as many at-bats as you can."
Class A Daytona's game Tuesday was postponed because of rain. It's been a tough stretch for the team. In the last 13 games, Daytona has been delayed twice, postponed five times, played two doubleheaders, and cancelled four games (all at home) with two of the 13 played as regularly scheduled nine-inning games.
The Cubs dismissed six members of their scouting staff on Wednesday. The list includes pro scouts Joe Housey, Richie Zisk, Tom Bourque and Tom Shafer. The club also cut ties with amateur scouts Charlie Aliano and Rick Schroeder. Aliano was a regional crosschecker and Schroeder was an area scout in the Midwest.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.