Russell encouraged by first spring outing

Russell encouraged by first spring outing

MESA, Ariz. -- James Russell passed the tests in his first game action this spring.

The left-handed reliever, who has been slowed because of a tired arm, faced four batters in one inning Wednesday night against the Mariners. He did serve up a two-out solo homer to Brad Miller, but he was encouraged by the outing.

"I was out there throwing strikes, that's all I can ask for," Russell said. "I made some good pitches and got the job done. It felt great. It's nice to get out there finally. Everything's going good."

Russell, who has appeared in more than 70 games the past two seasons, said he didn't feel rushed to be ready by Opening Day.

"Time's on our side," he said. "We've got plenty of ballgames left. It's fortunate for me. I can get enough out of my side work where I don't have to have a whole lot of appearances in games. I know how I'm going to go about getting lefties out and how to get the other guys out."

The problem isn't serious, Russell said, and something he feels every spring.

"I've had it before, and it's a little dead arm," he said. "They were a little more precautionary this time around. I think it's mainly because of the workload I've taken on. ... I'm ready to go at it and get out there and get another 80 appearances."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.