James Russell RP ATL 29 Days

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 ATL 2 Months

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 ATL 3 Months

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 5 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 9 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 12 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 12 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 12 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 12 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 Dec 13 '79

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.