The Tigers released Russell on Monday, John Wagner of The Toledo Blade reports. After failing to win a bullpen gig with the Tigers in spring training, Russell opened the season at Triple-A Toledo, making only two appearances and giving up five runs over three innings before getting let go. The lefty will likely try to land a minor-league deal elsewhere but will face a difficult path back to the majors regardless of where he lands.
Russell agreed to a minor-league deal with the Tigers on Wednesday, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation reports. Russell spent the 2017 season with the Yucatan Lions, a Triple-A affiliate in the Mexican League, tossing 31 innings and accumulating a 2.03 ERA over five starts. The 32-year-old appeared in seven big-league games for the Phillies in 2016 and pitched in 49 for the Cubs a year prior, so he will bring some major-league experience to the Tigers. That said, Russell will likely begin the year with Triple-A Toledo.
Russell signed a minor league contract with the Indians on Monday that includes an invitation to spring training, Tommy Stokke of FanRag Sports reports. The deal isn't complete until the left-hander passes a physical, but it seems like he'll be switching leagues with the hopes of returning to the majors. Russell spent the bulk of 2016 with the Phillies' Triple-A affiliate in Lehigh Valley, and he compiled a 4.29 ERA while acting as both a starter and a reliever. He'll compete for a bullpen role out of spring training, but it'll be tough to carve out a niche with Ryan Merritt and Shawn Morimando competing for southpaw spots behind Andrew Miller and Boone Logan in the Tribe's bullpen.
Russell has elected free agency. Russell had a brief stint with the Phillies this year, but spent most of his season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He worked as both a starter and a reliever there, compiling a 3-5 record with a 4.29 ERA and a 49:19 K:BB in 79.2 innings.
Russell cleared waivers Friday and was outrighted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports. After being designated for assignment Wednesday, Russell went through waivers unclaimed and has since been outrighted to the Phillies' Triple-A affiliate. Russell made the Opening Day roster out of camp thanks to a strong spring, but he couldn't quite sustain that success once the season got underway. In just 4.0 innings of work, Russell allowed two home runs and seven total earned runs. Given the Phillies' inconsistent bullpen and the fact that Russell is a southpaw, he could find a way back onto the 40-man roster later in the season.
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