Addison Russell is clearly dealing with something more complicated than the minor injury he expected to heal during a 10-day stay on the disabled list. The Cubs still don’t have a real timeline for when their All-Star shortstop will completely recover from the plantar fasciitis and strained muscle in his right foot.
“I don’t think that there’s any rush right now,” Russell said Tuesday at Wrigley Field. “I’m just going to go off how my body feels.”
Russell – who had been eligible to be activated on Sunday – didn’t sound at all optimistic about returning to the lineup during this seven-game homestand against the Cincinnati Reds and Toronto Blue Jays. The Cubs anticipate Russell will need a rehab assignment in the minors at some point to begin getting his timing back.
“When it comes to guys being injured, finish lines and all that stuff, I never pay attention to them,” manager Joe Maddon said. “He was smiling the other day, which I thought was a good sign. But he’ll know, and the trainers will tell me: ‘Now it’s getting real close.’
“We’ll see. It’s definitely trending properly, but I don’t know the definitive finish line yet.”
Russell has been working out for several days, doing agility drills, hitting in the cage and throwing on the field while getting more treatment. Though Maddon misses Russell’s steady play at shortstop – and understands what his absence means for defensive harmony, overall depth and mix-and-match possibilities – the Cubs have an ultra-talented backup in Javier Baez.
This has been a difficult season for Russell, both personally and professionally, going through divorce proceedings, becoming the subject of a Major League Baseball inquiry, dealing with nagging soreness in his right shoulder and hitting .241 with 10 homers and 36 RBI in 97 games. The hope is this will reenergize a player who had been so important during last year’s World Series run.
“That’s kind of what I’m looking forward to,” Russell said. “I’m definitely taking this time to evaluate my body, get stronger, so I can be that much more impactful whenever I come back.”