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Russell Mature Beyond his Years

KODAK, Tenn. – James Russell didn't expect to be in Double-A so quickly, but the lefty out of Texas says he is grateful for the opportunity. The Tennessee Smokies are certainly happy to already have him. Russell has two wins on the season and despite a club-imposed pitch count, he is showing signs of being a standout on the mound.

Russell was drafted by the Cubs out of the University of Texas in 2007 in the 14th round. He made three appearances combined in the Arizona Rookie League and for Class A Peoria, where he tossed nine scoreless innings. Russell expected to spend the bulk of his 2008 summer in High-A ball at Daytona with a start in Peoria, but by the end of April the 6-foot-4 left-hander was in Tennessee. "It was...

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