Connect with us

MLB

Cubs’ Russell acknowledges ‘long road’ in return

Published

on

Chicago Cubs infielder Addison Russell returned from suspension on Wednesday, striking out in his first at-bat to a chorus of boos and a smattering of applause in his first game in a big league uniform since Sept. 19.

He finished the night 0-for-3 with a walk in Chicago’s 3-2 walk-off win over the Miami Marlins in 11 innings.

Russell, 25, was suspended 40 games in September for violating the league’s domestic abuse policy after an investigation into allegations of emotional, verbal and physical abuse made by his ex-wife, Melisa Reidy.

Russell, who started at second base on Wednesday, served the final 28 games of his suspension at the beginning of this season and went through league-mandated counseling as well as his own therapy.

“I’ve just improved overall,” Russell said before Wednesday’s game. “Better relationships and communication with my teammates and family and friends. Just overall, I feel like I’m a better person.

“Hearing from my family and friends and also teammates that I’ve improved is a lot of assurance for me. And just continuing my therapy, as well. I know I’m making great strides. It’s a long road ahead. There is no finish line, but I’m committed to this.”

The Cubs tendered a $3.4 million contract to Russell in December on the condition he follow all league- and team-mandated guidelines for rehabilitation. The Cubs have repeatedly said they want to be part of the solution as it concerns Russell and the “plague” of domestic abuse in society.

“This does not represent the end of the road or an accomplishment in any way,” Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Wednesday. “But there has been progress. And not just taking Addison’s word for it. I’ve remained in touch with the people who are important to him, people who are in his orbit, including Melisa. I’ve received a lot of positive testimony about Addison’s growth to this point, his coping skills, his emotional control, his communication skills, his engagement as a father.”

Russell’s return has been a controversial topic in Chicago. He was asked if winning back the fans was a goal.

“I think that’s a huge step along the way,” he said. “The goal — I can’t tell you what the big goal is — but I can tell you that I just need to hit small goals. And then, over time, reflect and then look and see how far I’ve come, and then just keep going forward.”

Negative fan reaction is a reality that Russell is likely to have to deal with, perhaps for the rest of his career.

“If there is an additional burden on him, additional scrutiny on him or other things he has to deal with, I think that’s just part of the process,” Epstein said. “That’s not unfair.”

Russell was asked how people will know he is being sincere in his rehabilitation and overall improvement.

“I don’t think I’m a good actor,” Russell said. “I don’t think you can fake what’s true in your heart. And what’s true in my heart is to be a better person.”

Russell’s return was supposed to come next week, after another few games in Triple-A. It was moved up because Ben Zobrist was placed on the restricted list and set to take a leave of absence for personal reasons.

Meanwhile, current closer Pedro Strop was placed on the 10-day injured list with a Grade 2 strain in his left hamstring. The Cubs activated lefty Mike Montgomery from the IL to take Strop’s place on the roster.

Manager Joe Maddon said he’ll use several different arms to close while Strop heals up. But the ninth inning will be the least-watched thing on Wednesday as Russell wears a Cubs uniform for the first time since the end of his suspension for domestic abuse.

“I’m happy I have this second opportunity,” Russell said. “I’m looking forward and still improving as a person.”

Source link

MLB

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says ‘we are playing’ but ‘players need to be better’

Published

on

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred remains confident the 2020 season can continue, telling ESPN’s Karl Ravech on Saturday that “there is no reason to quit now” despite positive coronavirus tests that have led to the postponement of 17 games in 10 days.

“We are playing,” Manfred told Ravech. “The players need to be better, but I am not a quitter in general and there is no reason to quit now. We have had to be fluid, but it is manageable.”

Manfred’s comments follow the postponement of Saturday’s St. Louis CardinalsMilwaukee Brewers game, according to ESPN and multiple reports. The postponement was caused by four positive COVID-19 tests among the Cardinals, including one player, according to ESPN and multiple reports.

Manfred on Friday told MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark that if the sport doesn’t do a better job of managing the coronavirus, it could shut down for the season, sources familiar with the conversation told ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

In addition to the positive tests with the Cardinals, the league and players recognize the coming days are a critical juncture following an outbreak among the Miami Marlins in which 21 members of the organization tested positive for COVID-19

Should another outbreak materialize, Manfred, who has the power to shut down the season, could move in that direction. Multiple players briefed on Friday’s call feared the season could have been shut down as soon as Monday if positive tests jumped or if players continue not to strictly abide by the league’s protocols, sources told ESPN.

In addition, networks broadcasting MLB games have been alerted to look at possible alternate programming after this weekend should a shutdown occur, sources told ESPN’s Keith Olbermann.

State and local governments have pressured baseball about players skirting the mandates outlined in the league’s 113-page operations manual, sources told ESPN. Broadcasts that have shown players high-fiving, spitting and not wearing masks have left government officials wondering how seriously players are taking the protocols, sources said.

Further, there is concern about off-the-field choices, with one high-ranking official saying: “There are some bad decisions being made.”

Source link

Continue Reading

MLB

Sources — Phillies optimistic last two COVID-19 tests were false positives

Published

on

The Philadelphia Phillies are optimistic that their last two positive COVID-19 tests — with a coach and clubhouse attendant — were false positives, sources told ESPN on Saturday.

The Phillies, who are a week separated from games against the Miami Marlins with no positive tests among players through Friday’s testing, are permitted to access Citizens Bank Park for staggered workouts beginning Saturday.

False positives would be good for the Phillies because it would take the incubation period of the team’s most recent exposure back to last Sunday against the Marlins, who have had 21 positive tests within their organization since that game.

The Phillies have not played since Sunday, with series against the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays being postponed. The Phillies are currently not scheduled to play until a four-game series against the Yankees — in New York on Monday and Tuesday and at home Wednesday and Thursday.

Source link

Continue Reading

MLB

Brewers’ Lorenzo Cain decides to opt out of season

Published

on

Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain has opted out of the 2020 season, the team announced Saturday.

“Lorenzo Cain has informed us that he will not participate for the remainder of the 2020 season,” Brewers general manager David Stearns said in a statement. “We fully support Lorenzo’s decision, and we will miss his talents on the field and leadership in the clubhouse.”

Cain’s decision comes as the Brewers’ scheduled game Saturday against the St. Louis Cardinals was postponed because at least four more members of the Cardinals tested positive for COVID-19, according to ESPN and multiple reports. Friday’s series opener had been postponed after two Cardinals players tested positive for the coronavirus.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred had told MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark on Friday that if the sport doesn’t do a better job of managing the coronavirus, it could shut down for the season, sources familiar with the conversation told ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Cain, a two-time All-Star and 2019 National League Gold Glove winner, was .333/.429./.389 with 2 RBIs in five games this season.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending