MESA, Ariz. -- Addison Russell has not had a chance to thank Jason Hammel for being part of the reason the shortstop was traded from the Athletics to the Cubs last July. It should be easy to do and won't even require a phone call. Hammel and Russell now find themselves in the same clubhouse with the Cubs.
Last July 5, Russell was included in the package the A's sent to Chicago for Hammel and Jeff Samardzija. The Cubs also received outfielder Billy McKinney and pitcher Dan Straily, who was dealt to the Astros in January along with Luis Valbuena for Dexter Fowler. Hammel returned to the Cubs after signing a two-year contract last December.
Russell, 21, who was sidelined part of last season because of a right hamstring injury, was added to the Double-A Tennessee roster after the trade, and he batted .294 in 50 games. He played briefly in the Arizona Fall League as well.
A first-round pick in 2012, Russell noticed a change immediately after he was dealt.
"There's big differences," he said of the Cubs vs. the Athletics. "There are more younger guys here. I like to talk to the young and older guys to get their perspective on baseball and pick their brain a little bit. It's a good thing that I got traded, and I'm looking forward to the season."