Addison Russell hopes to be ready if the Cubs can somehow survive and advance to the World Series.
That looks doubtful with the New York Mets up 2-0 in this best-of-seven National League Championship Series, Russell making no guarantees about his strained left hamstring and the Cubs knowing their shortstop’s game is built around speed bursts and lateral movement.
But Russell keeps feeling better and better and will push his rehab this week, trying to be prepared in case the Cubs make it to the Fall Classic for the first time in 70 years.
“I don’t see why not,” Russell said Monday at Wrigley Field. “But we’re still trying to (be) precautionary, even though the way that I feel is going better than planned. We’re still going to try and take it slow, because you still have those days. There’s no rush.”
The Cubs left Russell off their NLCS roster after he felt something while hustling for a triple during a Game 3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in the divisional round.
The Cubs are in good hands with Javier Baez, another first-round pick with a top-prospect pedigree and potentially elite defensive skills.
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But the Cubs also viewed making Russell their everyday shortstop in early August as one of the turning points in this magical season. The rookie put up 13 homers, 29 doubles and 54 RBI during his age-21 season.
“It’s definitely frustrating,” Russell said. “You grind it out all year with these guys and then finally when it comes to crunch time you got to sit on the bench. But I’ll cheer on my teammates and I’m happy I’ve been a part to help the team get this far. I know the type of players that we put out on the field every day. I know that they’re going to get the job done.”