(CBS) Cubs manager Joe Maddon isn’t sure when Addison Russell will return from the disabled list, but wants to make certain this much clear.
When Russell is healthy, he’s the team’s starting shortstop, no matter how magnificent Javier Baez has been there as a regular since Russell went down with a foot strain in early August.
“Listen, when he comes back, he’s our shortstop,” Maddon said of Russell in an interview with Matt Spiegel and Danny Parkins on 670 The Score on Tuesday. “He’s our shortstop, man. Don’t be deceived. Look at even this year, what he was doing defensively prior to being injured.”
When Russell returns, Maddon envisions lessening his workload a bit compared to earlier in the season. That will allow Baez to still make some starts here and there at shortstop while being the primary second baseman. In the game of musical chairs, Baez could also play third base, with Kris Bryant shifting to the outfield occasionally.
“It just means we can probably give Javy a little bit of rest, get him back over at second base,” Maddon said. “And the other thing, when Addy comes back, you don’t want to play him every day. You don’t want to do that, because you don’t want another injury. So there’s all these different things to fit in. Listen, the more good players that we got, the more difficult it is to make a lineup every day, I’ll take it.
“Baseball has a cruel way of answering its own questions.”
Russell hasn’t played since Aug. 2. He’s getting closer to a return, Maddon said.
“He came up to me in the dugout the other day before we left, Addison did, and we talked a little bit,” Maddon said. “He’s feeling better. He’s doing some different drills. It’s more sore than pain, so I told him, ‘Soreness is a good word. That normally means it’s getting better and getting stronger. Pain is a bad word. It means nothing good is going on there.’ So he described it as being sore, which I took as good. But again, it’s a day-to-day thing, it’s a day-to-day process.”
Russell is hitting .241 with 10 homers, 36 RBIs and a .722 OPS in 97 games. Baez is hitting .268 with 20 homers, 59 RBIs and an .808 OPS in 109 games. Baez has been especially hot in August as an everyday player, hitting .290 with seven homers, 19 RBIs and a .966 OPS this month.