After being bumped from the starting rotation, James Russell is ready for other ways to convince Cubs fans that he is reliable as well as knowledgeable about locally-crafted pilsners.

Manager Mike Quade is supportive of Russell taking on the extra work.

“The people at Murphy’s have offered a deal where James could work up until game time and report back to the bar after the game to continue serving Old Style,” said the Cubs skipper. “It’s a win-win.”

“We have a great relationship with the Cubs organization,” said Murphy’s manager Billy Shannon, pointing to the multiple signed jerseys on the wall behind the bar. “Usually that relationship is with players as patrons, but Russell is a nice kid with a lot of energy. He can effortlessly switch out a keg. He has a lot of potential in this business.”

Patron Jeremy Freidman liked Russell’s service.

“I was pleasantly surprised,” said Freidman. “He was able to open my can of Coors Light without error. He got my change right. I tipped him a buck.”

Russell said he’s just following in the footsteps of one of his heroes.

“Rick Sutcliffe was my favorite player growing up,” said Russell. “That dude was spending 12 hours a day at Murphy’s before I was even born. That’s the kind of dedication I need to be successful on the mound. And behind the bar.”

By Marci Rubin. Photoshop by Kurt Evans