Cubs' Russell stands by selection of HR pitch

Cubs' Russell stands by selection of HR pitch

Cubs' Russell stands by selection of HR pitch

SAN DIEGO -- James Russell served up a tiebreaking home run in the seventh inning to the Padres' Will Venable on Friday, and after the eventual 8-6 defeat, Cubs manager Dale Sveum blamed bad pitch selection by the lefty reliever.

"You're not supposed to throw [Venable] a slider, and he threw him a slider," Sveum said.

Russell disagreed.

"I saw [Sveum] wasn't happy with the slider, but I don't agree with that," Russell said Saturday. "That's what I do, is throw sliders to lefties and get them out. I don't think it's a bad pitch call at all."

Russell now has given up six earned runs over 2 2/3 innings in his most recent four outings. He said he felt great and was not overworked.

"I just hung a slider [to Venable], and lately my mistakes have been getting hit hard, and it's just been in big situations," Russell said. "My body feels fine. I don't feel overused at all. That's why I work hard in the offseason and work hard every day, so they can wear me out. That's my job, and I take pride in that.

"Pitch selection was not the problem last night," Russell said. "It's a hanging slider. If I get it down, it's not going to be hit out of the park."

It was the second home run by a left-handed batter off Russell this year. The Cardinals' Jon Jay hit the other one last Sunday at Wrigley Field.

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.