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2016 Cubs Spring Training Countdown: 27 Days

Here's a photo that you haven't seen before. Well, sort of.

Photo: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports. Photo illustration: Mike Bojanowski

Of course the photo at the top of this post is Photoshopped. Addison Russell has yet to wear No. 27 for the Cubs; he spent 2015 wearing No. 22. The photo was taken September 17 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

Jason Heyward, who has worn No. 22 his entire career, will take over that number, graciously given up by Russell. You can read the story of why No. 22 is so important to Heyward in this BCB post from last month, which also notes why Russell chose No. 27 going forward.

I look for great things from Russell this year. To give you an idea of just how young he is, he's just three months older than Albert Almora. Yet, he had a solid rookie season and got better as a hitter as the year went on. Knowing he'll be the starting shortstop from Opening Day should help him get more confidence, too. Russell posted 3.3 bWAR, seventh-best among all big-league rookies in 2015. He should build on that too this season.

I didn't plan it this way -- just happened that way since Russell will now be No. 27 and today is 27 days until pitchers and catchers report -- but today is Russell's 22nd birthday. Happy Birthday to Addison and here's hoping for a big 2016 from him.