ST. LOUIS – The Cubs are being protective of Addison Russell, hoping their All-Star shortstop’s sore right shoulder doesn’t develop into a disabled-list situation.
“I don’t think that it’s up to that yet,” Russell said Friday before playing catch at Busch Stadium. “As far as it feels right now, I think we’re on the lighter side of maybe one or two more days.”
Manager Joe Maddon rested Russell and later used him as a pinch-hitter during a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. Russell – who hadn’t thrown a baseball in three days – said it felt like something that had been building more than getting injured on a specific play.
“I really wanted to play, but I think we both feel that it’s better if we just take this slow,” Russell said. “It’s still early in the season. You don’t want this stuff to linger or get worse.
“So if we tend to it right now – and make sure we knock it out and be on the precautious side of it – then I think in the long run it’s going to be better for us.”
The Cubs have the luxury of plugging in one of the game’s most electric defenders at shortstop – Javier Baez – and being patient with a Gold Glove finalist who so far hasn’t matched last year’s 21-homer, 95-RBI pace.
“I’m just waiting to hear how he feels,” Maddon said. “I just wanted to be a little bit overly cautious. If you have a sore arm, sore shoulder, I’ve always (felt that way), especially with a young man like that and the position that he plays.”
• Reigning National League MVP Kris Bryant became a late lineup scratch after coming down with a stomach illness. Ex-Cardinal Jon Jay hit second and started in right field before leaving the game after one inning with back spasms. Maddon already ruled out Bryant for Saturday afternoon’s game against the Cardinals.
“Literally last second,” Maddon said. “I’m talking to him on the steps (and) I’m just trying to joke with him and he’s not joking back, so I knew something was not right.
“I had to do the scribble thing on the lineup card and take it up there.”
• Jason Heyward – who’s dealing with a sprained finger on his right hand – took swings off a tee, plans to do flip drills on Saturday and hopes to be activated from the disabled list when the Cubs begin next week’s homestand at Wrigley Field.