Cubs' James Russell to start again
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Cubs manager Mike Quade will keep a close eye on the pitch count for Russell, who gave up four earned runs on seven hits in 1 2/3 innings in an 11-2 loss to the Houston Astros on April 12.
"I would look very, very hard at 70 pitches," Quade said of Russell, who threw 55 pitches against the Astros. "Unless he does something exceptional, the main thing is to keep him healthy and productive in whatever role we decide to use him in."
Russell doesn't believe 70 pitches is a very lofty goal.
"I feel great, I feel like my body is well enough to handle that many pitches," Russell said.
Although he got roughed up in his lone start, Russell has looked good in his relief appearances this season, allowing two hits, no runs, while not walking a single batter in his 3 1/3 innings.
Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said Wells played catch on Monday and seemed to be making progress while Cashner is getting a lot stronger. Both pitchers are expected to be examined by team orthopedist Dr. Stephen Gryzlo on Monday night.
Russell, a native Texan and avid hunter, is bearing down for what's supposed to be winter-like conditions Tuesday night at Wrigley Field.
"I do have my camo tights on," Russell said, "I might need to bring out a camo jacket or two."
Hendry said pitcher Brian Schlitter, a Maine South graduate, would be returned to the Cubs after Major League Baseball concluded he had a pre-existing injury (elbow strain) that was recently discovered.
Schlitter was put on waivers to make room on the 40-man roster when Kerry Wood was signed.
"The Yankees had him, he passed their physical, he went to camp with the Phillies, he passed theirs," Hendry said. "Basically the rules are that when you run [a player] through [waivers], you want him to be completely healthy. We''re happy to get him back, to be honest with you."
Schlitter appeared in seven games with the Cubs last season, throwing eight innings and posting a 12.38 ERA.
Sahadev Sharma is a special contributor to ESPNChicago.com.