Chicago Cubs: Addison Russell could miss the rest of the regular season
What was supposed to be a simple trip to the disabled list for the Chicago Cubs’ Addison Russell has stretched into the final weeks of the season. If he returns, how baseball ready will he be?
It’s been a chance for the Chicago Cubs‘ Javier Baez to show fans what they’ve got in him–again–even though he has his ups and downs. But not having one of your key contributors and defenders from a year ago is never a good thing. The status of Addison Russell remains up in the air after his rehab setback. So the Cubs will have to look at the possibility of finishing the regular season without his help.
On Aug. 31, an MRI showed a re-aggravation of the plantar fasciitis that put him on the DL on Aug. 3. The expectation was that he’d be out another three weeks. That puts us in the final week of the season. But can we expect him to just jump right back into the lineup? Not likely. And would we put him at shortstop, as good as Baez has been? It seems like that would be a tough move to make, even with as good as Russell is at short. Baez has been, well, El Mago.
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Who’s on second?
Cubs’ skipper Joe Maddon has been very happy with Baez and his play–who wouldn’t–, but it’s more about who will play second base in late-game situations.
"“Javy’s shored up that spot really well,” Maddon said. “My bigger concern right now would be in the latter part of the game: Where do you want to go at second base? Based on who’s available, everybody else who’s in the game that night, love Tommy coming off the bench to pinch-hit, there’s all different things to consider.”"
The Cubs have several options at second base, but it’s more about who’s left at the end of games that will be most important. Tommy La Stella has proven to be a competent pinch-hitter late in games. They also have Ian Happ, Mike Freeman and Ben Zobrist who can all play the spot in the regular season.
With Happ and Zobrist occasionally filling in for the outfield, it makes things a little trickier on Maddon. And come playoff time–if the Cubs are still a part of it–will he be confident enough to throw Russell in the game with very little time to get back in the flow?
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There’s no final word yet on Russell, but the Cubs need to move forward with the idea that he won’t be there for the rest of the regular season. And with the MiLB season to be over by then, a rehab assignment won’t be possible. Simulated game? Simply thrown into the fire? We will soon see.