Cubs

Addison Russell awaiting word from MLB after wife files for divorce and declines to meet with investigators

Addison Russell awaiting word from MLB after wife files for divorce and declines to meet with investigators

Addison Russell’s estranged wife has declined to meet with Major League Baseball officials, a development that could significantly hinder the investigation into an abuse allegation made against the Cubs shortstop. 

Thomas T. Field – the partner at Beermann Pritikin Mirabelli Swerdlove LLP representing Melisa (Reidy) Russell in divorce proceedings – confirmed that decision two weeks after a third-party accusation on social media triggered MLB’s domestic-violence protocols.

“I haven’t heard anything” new from MLB, Russell said, surrounded by reporters at his locker after Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the San Diego Padres at Wrigley Field. “It’s been sticking out for a while now. I just want to get back to baseball.”

Through Facebook, WGN’s Dean Richards surfaced a press release from a local marketing firm that announced Melisa hired Field and filed for divorce in Cook County. The statement said: “It is her desire to pursue a resolution that is, first and foremost, in the best interest of the parties’ son,” hoping for closure in a “swift, amicable and private fashion.”

After his wife publicly aired their marital issues on Instagram – and a woman believed to be one of Melisa’s close friends made the explosive charge in a comment beneath the photo – Russell released this statement through the team: “Any allegation I have abused my wife is false and hurtful.”        

That Instagram post was quickly deleted as it drew more and more attention from fans, media and president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, who notified MLB on June 8 as part of a process that largely leaves the matter out of the club’s hands. The Cubs gave Russell that night off and told him to stay away from Wrigley Field, allowing him to collect his thoughts and explicitly framing it as not being a one-game suspension.

In these types of cases, the collective bargaining agreement grants broader disciplinary powers to commissioner Rob Manfred, even without an arrest or a prosecution. But an alleged victim’s cooperation would be crucial to the investigation.

Russell is 23 years old and coming off an All-Star season where he helped the Cubs win an epic World Series and end the 108-year drought. But from Epstein’s measured tone to manager Joe Maddon’s listening mode to the calculated comments in the clubhouse, the Cubs projected the right image, focusing only on what they know about Russell as a player, not rushing to judgments or dismissing the seriousness of the situation.

“Definitely not ignoring it,” Russell said. “I have the right support system. I have a lot of fans out there that are definitely making me feel better about the whole process. But when it comes down to it, I love playing baseball. I absolutely love this game. Whatever happens on the field, I’ll take care of it.”

Report: Giants interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for manager opening

Report: Giants interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for manager opening

The Giants' search for a successor to now-retired manager Bruce Bochy has led them to the North Side.

According to NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic, the Giants are interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for their own managerial opening. San Francisco's interest is intriguing, as Venable went to high school just outside San Francisco in nearby San Rafael. His father — Max Venable — played for the Giants from 1979-83. 

Venable also interviewed for the Cubs' manager job earlier this month, telling the Chicago Sun-Times that his interest is in the "organization in general." He is one of several internal candidates for the Cubs' job, along with bench coach Mark Loretta and front office assistant David Ross.

The Cubs also interviewed Joe Girardi and are set to meet with Astros bench coach Joe Espada and former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler.

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Former Cub Mark Prior likely to take over as Dodgers pitching coach in 2020

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USA TODAY

Former Cub Mark Prior likely to take over as Dodgers pitching coach in 2020

Mark Prior's big-league playing career unfortunately fizzled out due to recurring injury woes, but he's making a name for himself in the coaching realm.

With Dodgers current pitching coach Rick Honeycutt transitioning into a new role, Prior is expected to takeover the position starting next season.

Cubs fans know the story of Prior's playing career all too well. The Cubs drafted him second overall in the 2001, with Prior making his MLB debut just a season later. He went on to dominate in 2003, posting an 18-6 record, 2.43 ERA and 245 strikeouts in 30 starts, a season in which he made the All-Star Game and finished third in the NL Cy Young Award voting.

However, Prior's season ended on a sour note, as he was on the mound during the Steve Bartman incident in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS. Prior exited the game with a 3-1 lead, but the Cubs surrendered seven more runs that inning, eventually falling to the Marlins 8-3 before losing Game 7 the next day. 

Prior struggled to stay healthy after 2003, eventually retiring in 2013 after multiple comeback attempts. While many blame his injury-riddled career on former Cubs manager Dusty Baker, Prior does not. 

While we can only wonder what could've been with Prior to the pitcher, it's good to see him still making an impact in baseball in some fashion.

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