Exiled Russell Rehabs Strained Image
Opening Day, 2018. Ian Happ swatted the first pitch of the MLB season into the seats in Miami. Addison Russell was all over the box score of that game. 2/3 at the plate, stole a base, turned a couple of DPs, got picked off, hit by a pitch and made an error.
Opening Day, 2019. Ian Happ was back in Des Moines and Triple A. Addison Russell was in two states at once; Arizona and Limbo, staying loose at Extended Spring Training while his suspension for conduct unbecoming of an MLB spouse/domestic partner ran its course. Now that its days are numbered, Russell has joined Happ (not to mention Carl Edwards Jr.) on the roster of the Iowa Cubs. Who knows when Happ and Edwards will be back in Chicago, but Russell can reasonably expect to be there when the Cardinals come calling on May 3.
Russell’s been here before, for 11 games in 2015 and a single one in 2017, but under very different circumstances. The first time he was an ascending wunder-prospect. The last time he was coming off an injury. This time, he’s coming out of the penalty box, working on some behavioral rehab.
You gotta think right about now he’d rather face someone like Max Scherzer than another “I’m a changed man,” presser, but I think he’s scheduled for one later today.
Wednesday night he was greeted with what I would describe as polite, big-leaguer-in-town applause when his name was announced in the starting lineup. He didn’t inflate the crowd as rehabbers sometimes do, but he did oblige some autograph-seekers. In the dugout with his temporary teammates, he appeared to be one of the guys. When the kid who was chosen for the nightly “pick-to-click” promo chose Russell (if the “pick-to-click” gets a hit, everybody in the picker’s row wins some sort of token), Happ and the rest of the boys were giving it to him good-naturedly.
So, so far; so good. Good luck, I guess, to young Mr. Russell who, whatever else he may be guilty of, will never be accused of sterility. His third child with a third woman was born last fall. Hopefully, his counseling on the ways and means of adulthood includes the basics of birth control.
Footnotes: The other two Chicago Musketeers, Happ and Edwards, had good nights. Two hits, a stolen base and zero Ks for #8 @ position #8; a scoreless frame with a pair of whiffs for the former Slim Reaper as the I-Cubs improved to 12-7 and stayed two games in front of the Memphis Redbirds.