James Russell RP CHC 3 weeks ago

Russell was called up by the Cubs on Tuesday, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports.

Russell will be up to provide relief for a bullpen that has been taxed in recent days, beginning Tuesday night in St. Louis. Before getting traded to Atlanta at the deadline last July, Russell spent four and a half years with the Cubs, making 57-plus appearances every season from 2010-2013.

James Russell RP CHC 2 months ago

Russell agreed to a minor league contract with the Cubs on Wednesday, MLB.com's Carrie Muskat reports.

Russell, who was released by the Braves in late March despite signing a one-year, $2.425 million contract in January, will head back to the team that traded him to Atlanta last season. He will open the 2015 campaign with Triple-A Iowa but is a good bet to see action with the big club at some point this season.

James Russell RP CHC 2 months ago

Russell was released by the Braves on Sunday.

Although Russell enjoyed success after coming after from Chicago last July, posting a 2.22 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 22 appearances, he had a reverse platoon split and his issues against lefties carried over to Grapefruit League action. Russell had a .313 BAA against lefties in three spring appearances -- his debut was delayed by a toe injury -- and he gave up a pair of homers to lefties (Stephen Drew and Brian McCann) in a particularly poor outing. It seems the Braves decided he was not an ideal fit for a specialist role, and thus, Josh Outman and Luis Avilan will be leaned on as Atlanta's top lefty options.

James Russell RP CHC 2 months ago

Russell (toe) said Wednesday that he is still hoping to earn a spot in the Braves' starting rotation, Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

A toe injury has delayed Russell significantly, likely eliminating any chance he had of earning a starting role, but you can't fault the guy for holding out hope. Manager Fredi Gonzalez mentioned Russell as a candidate for a starting role over the winter, but that was before the team signed Wandy Rodriguez and Eric Stults and traded for Mike Foltynewicz and Manny Banuelos. Russell completed a 30-pitch live batting practice session Tuesday and is expected to make his spring debut later this week, but the Braves figure to prepare him for a late-inning specialist role.

James Russell RP CHC 2 months ago

Russell has been bothered by a turf toe injury thus far during spring training, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

On a positive note, Russell seems to be nearly completely recovered from the issue, and should make his spring training debut at some point this week. He's expected to serve as the Braves' top lefty reliever this season.

James Russell RP CHC 4 months ago

Russell will work out of the bullpen during spring training, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

The Braves were kicking around the idea of stretching Russell out as a starter earlier in the offseason, but with the additions of Mike Fotynewicz, Eric Stults and Manny Banuelos, they no longer lack options at the back of the rotation. Russell, who posted a 2.22 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 24.1 innings after coming over to Atlanta at the deadline last season, will likely work as the top lefty out of the bullpen to begin 2015.

James Russell RP CHC 4 months ago

Russell agreed to a one-year, $2.425 million contract to avoid arbitration, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports.

Russell will likely be the top lefty out of Atlanta's bullpen, which could lead to plentiful opportunities for holds. Just don't expect more than the occasional save, as the Braves have right-handers Jason Grilli and Jim Johnson behind Craig Kimbrel.

James Russell RP CHC 6 months ago

The Braves might give Russell a shot to spend at least the early weeks of spring training stretching out as a starter, Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports.

Russell began his professional career as a starter in the Cubs' system, but has pitched almost exclusively as a reliever since 2009, making just six starts in his five seasons at the major league level. However, the Braves, lacking quality starting pitching depth, are at least toying with the idea of getting him stretched out, though nothing's definite and it seems likely he'll wind up back in the bullpen regardless.

James Russell RP CHC 8 months ago

Russell will start Sunday's game at Philadelphia.

The Braves waited until late Saturday to announce a replacement for Alex Wood, who was scratched with a forearm strain. Russell is a surprising choice, considering he hasn't started a big league game since 2011 with the Cubs. In all likelihood, it will just be a bullpen game for Atlanta, and Russell probably won't be allowed to pitch deep enough to qualify for a win.

James Russell RP CHC 11 months ago

James Russell picked up his first save of the year with a perfect 13th against the Marlins on Monday.

The Cubs weren't going to use Neil Ramirez tonight after his saves Saturday and Sunday and they had already run through Hector Rondon and Pedro Strop, so Russell got his first save since 2012. He's been very effective of late, turning in 13 straight appearances without allowing an earned run. He's not really a candidate for additional saves, though.