Tracy wins spot on bench; Millar released

Chad Tracy won a spot on the Cubs' bench primarily because he hits left-handed. Christian Petersen/Getty Images

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The last bench spot on the Chicago Cubs came down to two veteran newcomers.

Chad Tracy beat out Kevin Millar in a move that didn't seem clear cut coming down the stretch. Tracy's inclusion on the 25-man roster was announced Tuesday afternoon by general manager Jim Hendry before the Cubs' game against the San Francisco Giants. The Cubs also announced that rookie reliever James Russell made the club.

Neither Tracy or Millar, backup infielders signed to add experience to the Cubs' bench, had been in this situation before. Millar had never been released and Tracy hadn't had to fight for a job since 2004, three years after he was drafted. Signed in the offseason, Tracy will back up Aramis Ramirez at third and spell Derrek Lee at first, while giving the Cubs a valuable left-handed bat off the bench.

"Everybody had merit, everybody had different contributions," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "We talked about it long and hard, and decided to keep Tracy."

Read the full story.