By Bruce Levine —
CHICAGO (CBS) — Despite catcher Willson Contreras’ two-game suspension, the news wasn’t all bad for the Cubs on Saturday afternoon, as they welcomed back shortstop Addison Russell to the active roster.
The 23-year-old Russell had been on the disabled list since Aug. 3 with a strain and plantar fasciitis in the right foot.
Russell was close to returning 17 days ago, but he re-injured the same foot during a rehab minor league game. During his departure, teammate Javier Baez has filled in at shortstop with spectacular success. Baez will return to second base when Russell can handle the rigors of nine-inning games again.
Manager Joe Maddon was asked if the players would eventually swap roles.
“We have seen what both have done at shortstop,” Maddon said. “We like Javy at second base and Addie at shortstop.
“If you look at what Addie did last year, it was pretty darn good — 21 home runs and 95 RBIs. He was one of the better defenders in all of the baseball last year. We will stick with this. When Javy is at second and Addie at shortstop, it is really difficult to beat.”
Maddon added that Russell will be eased back into the lineup. Prior to his injury, he was hitting .241 with 10 home runs and 36 RBIs. Russell was the National League’s starting shortstop in the All-Star Game in 2016.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.