2/20 Russell hopes to take over set-up job

With Sean Marshall gone via trade, the Cubs are looking for a new left-handed set-up pitcher. James Russell is up for the challenge.

“I’m more than happy to take on a bigger work load,” Russell said Monday. “I’m excited. You don’t want to see your friends leave but it’s part of the business. If it opens up something for me where I can go on and succeed, so be it. I’d be happy to do it.”

Last season, Russell compiled a 2.19 ERA in 59 games in relief. He also subbed in the rotation after Andrew Cashner and Randy Wells were sidelined with injuries, but that didn’t go as well as Russell was 0-5 with a 9.33 ERA.

The other lefties in camp include Scott Maine, Trever Miller, Jeff Beliveau, and John Gaub. Last season, Russell held left-handed hitters to a .250 average, while right-handers hit .312 off him.

“I want to work on some stuff this spring so I can have an even repertoire against righties and lefties, if I do have to face righties,” Russell said. “I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be exciting.”

– Carrie Muskat

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