Cubs manager Dale Sveum didn't seem overly concerned Monday about the workload left-handed reliever James Russell has carried this season.
Russell made his 70th appearance in Sunday's 7-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. Last year Russell had a career-high 77 appearances, making him the fifth Cubs left-hander with multiple seasons of at least 70 games pitched.
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The big difference this year, according to Sveum, are the innings. Russell totaled 691⁄3 innings last year in his 77 appearances. This season he has compiled 50 innings, posting a 1-5 record, a 3.42 ERA and a WHIP of 1.18.
Russell hit some rough patches in June and July, but opposing batters hit just .154 against him in August.
"Last year he finished innings; he'd start an inning, finish an inning," Sveum said. "This year, yeah, the appearances are there, but the innings and the pitches aren't there like last year. I don't think we're going to abuse him the last month and pitch him when you're losing games and stuff like at."
One more for Baker:
Right-hander Scott Baker made his final rehab start Monday, working 52⁄3 innings for the Kane County Cougars. He gave up 6 hits and 2 runs while walking none and striking out four.
Baker has been on the mend all year from Tommy John surgery, which was performed in April 2012 while he was with the Minnesota Twins.
"We're still trying to get to the point where we'll see and evaluate what we want to do going forward with him," Dale Sveum said.
If Baker is able to come back and pitch for the Cubs, it would be as a long reliever, not as a starter, according to Sveum.
More on the way:
Expect the Cubs to make "four or five" more September call-ups, Dale Sveum said Monday. Catcher J.C. Boscan is a probability, as is left-handed pitcher Brooks Raley.
The Cubs may go outside their 40-man roster for some pitching help, as well.