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James Russell | Relief Pitcher

Team: Chicago Cubs
Age / DOB:  (28) / 1/8/1986
Ht / Wt:  6'4' / 200
Bats / Throws: Left / Left
Contract: view contract details

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Recent News

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. Jun 17 - 12:58 AM

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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."
Mar 13 - 9:09 AM

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."
Mar 11 - 7:03 PM

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.
Mar 8 - 10:43 AM

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.
Mar 6 - 11:43 AM

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.
Mar 4 - 11:28 AM

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.
Jan 17 - 2:18 PM

Bruce Levine of 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.
Tue, Jul 30, 2013 08:13:00 PM

James Russell gave up a three-run homer after taking over in the eighth inning to take a blown save and a loss Tuesday against the A's.

Just one of the two baserunners was his; the other run was charged to Blake Parker, who retired five of the six hitters he faced in the seventh and eighth. At this point, Parker would seem to be the better bet than Russell for saves if Kevin Gregg is traded. The newly acquired Pedro Strop could leapfrog them both, though.
Wed, Jul 3, 2013 01:31:00 AM

CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports that teams have asked the Cubs about James Russell, but they are not inclined to trade him.

They would surely consider it if they're blown away by an offer. However, they're in no rush to deal Russell, who holds a 2.22 ERA and 1.06 WHIP and is still relatively cheap with a $1.08 million salary in his first year of arbitration.
Tue, Jun 25, 2013 08:51:00 PM

James Russell has emerged as one of the Cubs' few bright spots in 2013, checking in with a 1.04 ERA and 0.87 WHIP in 23 appearances.

The former 14th-round pick also has seven holds and a 19/4 K/BB ratio over 17 1/3 innings. Russell has regressed a bit since an April in which he didn't allow a run, but he's lowered his ERA every season he's been in the majors. We expect him to do so again.
Fri, May 24, 2013 03:33:00 AM

Cubs and RHP James Russell avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $1.075 million contract.

Carrie Muskat of reported the contract terms. Russell was arbitration eligible for the first time this winter after posting a 3.25 ERA and 55/23 K/BB ratio over 69 1/3 innings last year. He figures to pitch in middle relief in 2013.
Fri, Jan 18, 2013 05:09:00 PM

James Russell got two outs against the Padres on Tuesday for his first career save.

Shawn Camp retired all four batters he faced in the eighth and ninth innings, but the Cubs chose to go to Russell with one out in the ninth and left-handed hitter John Baker due up. Russell got Baker out, gave up a double to Everth Cabrera and then retired Nick Hundley to end it. He's expected to split save chances with Camp for now.
Tue, May 29, 2012 05:50:00 PM

With Rafael Dolis demoted from the Cubs' closer role, the team is expected to use a combination of James Russell and Shawn Camp in the ninth inning.

Sveum said earlier this month that Russell and Dolis would share the role before Dolis briefly ran away with the job, so you'd think the lefty would be higher on the totem pole than Camp. But, Camp has pitched well of late and, since he throws right-handed, could get more chances in the matchups-based approach. Carlos Marmol (hamstring) is due back soon and figures to eventually get his old job back.
Sun, May 27, 2012 12:02:00 PM

James Russell has yet to see a save opportunity since Carlos Marmol was removed from the closer role.

Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Russell and Rafael Dolis would share the role, but it's been Dolis used in both save chances even though he faced two left-handed batters while converting his first save and two lefties and a switch-hitter in his second chance. It appears that Russell, who holds a 0.73 ERA and 1.38 WHIP over 13 appearances, might only be used in the ninth inning on days where Dolis is unavailable.
Fri, May 11, 2012 03:25:00 PM

Depth Charts

C1Welington Castillo
2John Baker
1B1Anthony Rizzo
2B1Emilio Bonifacio
SS1Starlin Castro
3B1Luis Valbuena
LF1Junior Lake
2Chris Coghlan
CF1Arismendy Alcantara
2Ryan Sweeney
RF1Nate Schierholtz
2Justin Ruggiano
Starting Pitcher
S1Jake Arrieta
2Travis Wood
3Edwin Jackson
4Kyle Hendricks
5Tsuyoshi Wada
6James McDonald
Relief Pitcher
R1Hector Rondon
2Neil Ramirez
3Pedro Strop
4James Russell
5Wesley Wright
6Carlos Villanueva
7Justin Grimm
8Brian Schlitter
9Kyuji Fujikawa
10Blake Parker