James Russell has the most appearances by a left-handed pitcher in Cubs franchise history.
But that doesn't matter now.
In September, nothing matters but winning.
The Cubs designated Russell and veteran righty Rafael Soriano for assignment Tuesday to make room on the 40-man roster for pitcher Trevor Cahill and outfielder Quintin Berry as rosters expanded.
"It's just a numbers game, more than anything," Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said. "We weren't looking to get rid of anybody, but with the 40-man roster crunch at this time of year, that can make some tough choices."
The Cubs traded Russell to the Atlanta Braves before the deadline last season, but the Braves released him this spring and the Cubs scooped him back up again.
"He really helped us get through a difficult part of the season," Epstein said. "He helped stabilize our bullpen when we picked him up after getting released by Atlanta and we're grateful to him for that.
"It's just unfortunate - the timing. He went into a little bit of a slump recently at a time when we're looking to add guys."
Russell got off to a great start with a 1.71 ERA through his first 33 games, but since then, the 29-year-old lefty given up 16 earned runs in 13 innings, including an 11.57 ERA in August. That left his season ERA at a bloated 5.29 despite a FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) that was 3.89.
"James is the kind of guy that you easily get close to," manager Joe Maddon said. "He's such a great teammate and great competitor. Everybody's going to read into his numbers, but he really helped us a lot in two very difficult situations where he was pitching in moments he should not have been pitching in, based on his skill level vs. that team.
"And he accepted it, did everything right, never complained, never cried, never made an excuse. But I'm telling you, those kind of numbers are deceivingly bad because he was pitching in the wrong moments."
The Cubs signed Soriano to a free-agent deal June 9 after the former closer hadn't been picked up by anybody else.
The 35-year-old had a 6.35 ERA in six games with the big-league club, allowing two homers in 5.2 innings before he landed on the disabled list Aug. 4 with a shoulder issue.
Soriano had been pitching in Triple-A Iowa, making three appearances over the last week before Tuesday's DFA.
Epstein said part of the reason the Cubs DFA'd Soriano was they have too many pitchers in the bullpen already requiring low-leverage situations to get on track with new reliever Fernando Rodney (acquired from the Mariners last week) and Neil Ramirez working his way back after another injury.