James Russell RP ATL 16 Days

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 ATL 3 Months

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 ATL 6 Months

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.

James Russell RP ATL 9 Months

James Russell (arm) threw an inning Wednesday in his Cactus League debut.

Russell gave up a home run to Mariners shortstop Brad Miller but was otherwise pleased with the performance. He had been battling a case of arm fatigue. "The arm is good," the left-hander told reporters Wednesday night. "One mistake. Made some good pitches. Felt great."

James Russell RP ATL 9 Months

James Russell (arm) will make his Cactus League debut Wednesday.

Russell has dealt with some arm fatigue this spring, which is no surprise given that he leads all left-handed relievers with 151 appearances over the past two seasons. Cubs manager Rick Renteria indicated that he'll be careful with Russell's usage this season. "Obviously, he pitched a lot," Renteria said. "I'm very cognizant of pitcher usage. I'm very cognizant of how many times they get up in the bullpen. I'm very cognizant of how many pitches they throw in a given day. Am I aware of it? Yes."

James Russell RP ATL 10 Months

James Russell (arm) threw a successful bullpen session on Friday and could be ready for game action by the end of next week.

Russell has been battling arm fatigue early on in camp, but the issue isn't believed to be anything serious. The 28-year-old southpaw posted a 3.59 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 37/18 K/BB ratio in 52 2/3 innings for the Cubs in 2013.

James Russell RP ATL 10 Months

James Russell (arm) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Friday in Cubs camp.

Russell has been slowed by some early-spring arm fatigue, but it's a yearly occurrence for him and he fully expects to be ready for the opening of the regular season.

James Russell RP ATL 10 Months

James Russell has yet to appear in a Cactus League game this spring because of arm fatigue.

The early-spring fatigue is normal for Russell, who expects to be fine within the next week. He should open the 2014 season as a prominent member of the Cubs bullpen.

James Russell RP ATL 11 Months

Cubs avoided arbitration with LHP James Russell by agreeing to a one-year, $1.77 million contract.

It was Russell's second year of arbitration eligibility. The lefty reliever has put up a 3.39 ERA over the last two years for the Cubs and will be a key reliever for them again in 2014.

James Russell RP ATL May 11 '79

Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com reports that the Cubs nearly traded James Russell to the Braves last week.

The Braves aren't an option anymore after their acquisition of Scott Downs, but it does signify that Russell is very much available. The southpaw didn't do himself any favors with a rocky showing Tuesday, but he entered the day holding left-handed batters to a .179/.235/.269 batting line.