By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — As Cubs shortstop Addison Russell returned to the team Friday, manager Joe Maddon was left with the complicated matter of when and how much Russell should play.
MLB’s legal experts are looking into an allegation made by a third party on social media that the 23-year-old Russell domestically abused his wife, Melisa, an accusation he’s denied. The Cubs gave Russell a day off Thursday to tend to his personal matters. Now that he’s back, Maddon has to determine how much to play him and how soon.
Russell didn’t start against the Rockies on Friday afternoon but was available off the bench.
“Soon,” was Maddon’s response when asked when we’ll see Russell on the field. “I will just check him out today and talk to him specifically. I just talked to (hitting coach) John Mallee — he said that (Russell) looked really good in the batting cage. We’ll see what happens today. If we need him today, you will see him in the game also.”
Russell addressed the media Friday morning, appearing composed and ready to return to action.
“I talked to him last night,” Maddon said Friday. “He seemed like he was in a very good place. I want to continue that. He is here today. I know he met with you guys. He has handled himself extremely well. So we will treat him normally and get him back on the field.
“I really have a lot of respect for everybody I work with,” Maddon added. “Like I said, I had a good conversation with him. I don’t think we should change anything about the way we do things. We will play the second game of a four-game series against a very good team. If we need him, he is going to play.”
Maddon will consider starting Russell again soon, he said. Russell has been a part-time player of late as he struggles in hitting .209, with Javier Baez filling in often at shortstop.
“I will check out his temperature on the bench today,” Maddon said. “Just looking for normal patterns. It is good to have him back.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.