Report: MLB will investigate Addison Russell’s domestic issues

Report: MLB will investigate Addison Russell’s domestic issues

Addison Russell's on-field professional struggles might be partially explained by his off-the-field personal issues, with his wife using social media on Wednesday night to accuse the Cubs shortstop of cheating and the Chicago Sun-Times reporting Thursday morning that Major League Baseball plans to investigate him under its domestic-violence protocol.

Russell’s wife, Melisa, has since deleted the posts on her Instagram and Twitter accounts, but it caught MLB’s attention and the screen grabs can still be found across the Internet. The most potentially explosive element would be the abuse allegations leveled with an Instagram comment from a woman believed to be one of Melisa’s good friends.

Russell, 23, is coming off an All-Star season where he helped the Cubs win their first World Series title since 1908. But Russell hasn’t played at that high level or with the same sharpness this year, hitting .209 with a .626 OPS and recently falling into a timeshare at shortstop with Javier Baez.

Russell didn’t play in Wednesday night’s loss to the Miami Marlins and wasn’t at his locker postgame when the Wrigley Field clubhouse opened up for the media. Russell’s high-powered agent, Scott Boras, and Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein didn’t immediately respond to text messages.

Commissioner Rob Manfred is granted broader power in these situations under the collective bargaining agreement. Manfred suspended Aroldis Chapman for 30 games before the beginning of last season, even though the Broward County State Attorney’s Office ultimately decided to not file criminal charges after an incident at the closer’s South Florida home.

That didn’t stop the Cubs from making a blockbuster trade with the New York Yankees last summer and adding Chapman and his 100-mph fastball as a bullpen rental. Russell – a player the Cubs built around for the long term – also deserves the chance to tell his side of the story before Thursday night’s game against the Colorado Rockies at Wrigley Field.

Already this week, MLB has signaled investigators will dig into allegations that Tampa Bay Rays catcher Derek Norris “physically and emotionally abused” his ex-fiancée, Kristen Eck, who made those claims on her Instagram account and personal blog.

Norris released a statement through his agent to the Tampa Bay Times that said: “I have NEVER been physically or emotionally abusive towards her, or anyone else in my life.”

How the Cubs, John Baker, are navigating the mental challenges of 2020

How the Cubs, John Baker, are navigating the mental challenges of 2020

The Cubs have spent months fortifying Wrigley Field against the outside world.

It’s supposed to be somewhere they feel safe, from the coronavirus pandemic, racial injustice, record unemployment rates. Even just for a few hours.

But even Wrigley’s ivy-covered walls aren’t impenetrable.

“I just feel like every day there’s something new,” Cubs manager David Ross said on Monday. “And I hope … our world gets back to being better in so many ways: health, society, emotionally, trying to get back to loving one another as best we can, as human beings.”

Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest Cubs news and analysis.

The Cubs anticipated that mental health would be especially important this season and gave mental skills coach John Baker Tier 1 access. That way MLB’s health and safety protocols wouldn’t limit his in-person conversations with players and coaches.

“I think he’s handing it great,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. “I think he deserves credit, and so do the players for being there for each other and be willing to talk about the challenges we all face and anxieties we all face.”

As people across the country have experienced, those anxieties are ever-mounting and ever-present.

At work, the Cubs are risking their health – and the health of those who live with them – to make a living and play a game they love. And hopefully provide fans with “levity and distraction,” as Hoyer put it.

Pregame interviews never conclude without a mention of the coronavirus. There’s always some sort of news between the Marlins’ and Cardinals’ outbreaks, commissioner Rob Manfred’s comments, and other teams violating protocols.

Then, at home their escapes are limited.

“This is a hard sport and it's a sport of failure,” Hoyer said, “and you want to be able to have some levity in your life that isn't this job of failure. And I think that not having that I think has created player health issues and we haven't had before.”

So, the Cubs built a little levity into their practice on Monday. The Cubs hadn't played a game in four days because their weekend series at St. Louis was postponed after the Cardinals had three more positive test. On Monday, Ross and his coaching staff put on a  “fun” competition, involving obstacles and target practice.

“I thought the way Rossy and the coaches and the players handled this break right now has been perfect,” Hoyer said. “I think they realize that in 2020 there's going to be strange things happen. You're going to have  breaks, and you're going to have doubleheaders, and there's nothing you can do about those things. You just have to roll with the punches, and you can't be upset by them.”

Next, they head to Cleveland to play a team that just had players violate protocol while in Chicago to play the White Sox.

Zach Plesac apologized for leaving the team hotel to go out, and he traveled back to Cleveland via car service to remain separated from the team in case of infection. But Mike Clevenger, who ESPN reported went out with Plesac, flew home with the team. He will be quarantined instead of starting against the Cubs on Tuesday.

Another anxiety to face.  

“How do I keep these guys in the moment?” Baker said. “They do it themselves. We have players that love playing baseball. I see it in the smiles on the faces now that they’re back on the field.”

That’s how they fortified Wrigley Field.


Cubs' Javier Báez, wife Irmarie are expecting a second child

Cubs' Javier Báez, wife Irmarie are expecting a second child

Cubs shortstop Javier Báez made a big announcement on Monday: he and his wife, Irmarie, are expecting a second child. 

Báez revealed the news in an adorable social media post with the help of his 2-year-old son, Adrian.

Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest Cubs news and analysis.

Congrats to the Báez family!

RELATED: Javy Baez's 1-year-old son already has all the makings of a baseball superstar