(CBS) Cubs shortstop Addison Russell on Thursday afternoon denied a domestic violence allegation levied against him.
“Any allegation I have abused my wife is false and hurtful,” Russell said in a statement released through the team. “For the well-being of my family, I’ll have no further comment.”
Russell’s wife, Melisa, published an Instagram post Wednesday evening while the Cubs-Marlins game was being played that said the 23-year-old Russell had cheated on her and that indicated the two were breaking up. They were married in 2016. The post has since been deleted.
In a comment that came after the original post, an individual who identified herself as Melisa’s close friend told another Instagram user that Russell had hit his wife before.
Following that accusation, MLB earlier Thursday confirmed it’s looking into the matter while stopping short of calling it a formal investigation. The Cubs had reached out to MLB early Thursday and been in contact with the league about the matter, as is league protocol.
The Cubs also released a statement Thursday afternoon, calling it a “serious claim.”
“Last night, we were made aware of a serious claim posted on social media about Addison Russell,” the Cubs said. “We reached out to Major League Baseball and, following the protocol established by MLB, will fully cooperate with the Commissioner’s Office as it gathers pertinent facts. Addison will not be in uniform tonight to allow him to work through this matter.”
Russell won’t be at Wrigley Field on Thursday night when the Cubs host the Rockies, as the team will allow him time to work through his matters. It’s not considered a suspension. The Cubs will play with a 24-man roster. It marks the second straight game Russell won’t play, and he also didn’t start last Saturday or Monday.
President of baseball operations Theo Epstein was unsure of when Russell may return to the Cubs, saying they’ll address the matter, for now, on a day-to-day basis.
Russell has been struggling mightily at the plate, batting .209 with a .626 OPS this season.