5/4 Russell prepped for new role

Lefty James Russell now finds himself sharing the closer’s role with Rafael Dolis after Carlos Marmol was removed from the job.

“It’s nothing you wanted to see happen,” Russell said Friday about taking over for Marmol. “Whoever gets the save, gets the save now. Hopefully that will work for the time being until Carlos comes back and finds himself and fixes some things. I don’t see it playing out the whole year, by any means.”

Russell has been effective this season, stranding four inherited runners. He has not given up a run in nine appearances over 7 2/3 innings, and has walked four while striking out eight. He has four career saves and in close and late situations, he’s held batters to a .167 average and given up two hits in 12 at-bats.

“They say the last three are the hardest three to get,” Russell said. “We’ll burn that bridge when we get there.”

Hopefully, Russell inherited something from his father, Jeff, who pitched from 1983-96, and saved 38 games in ’89 with the Rangers.

“I like to think closers are a little screwy in the head so maybe he passed that down to me,” James said of his dad. “It’ll be fun. You’ve got to have a little bit of, I don’t know, something wrong with you to be a closer. For the most part, Carlos has handled it really well. I don’t know why this year is kind of going the way it is. Unfortunately, that’s how it’s happened. We’ll see — either myself, [Kerry Wood], [Shawn] Camp could get some saves, Dolis has been throwing the ball well.”

Is he screwy in the head?

“A little bit,” Russell said. “If you’re a baseball player, you have to be a little bit messed up.”

Marmol sat across the clubhouse from Russell as he conducted the interview.

“I feel for him a lot,” Russell said. “Our job has been to get him the ball. He’s here for a reason and I’m sure he’ll figure it out and it won’t be too long before he’s getting as many saves as he can.”

— Carrie Muskat

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