The Chicago Cubs optioned infielder Addison Russell to Triple-A Iowa on Wednesday after continued struggles since his return from a suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy.
To take Russell’s place on the active roster, the Cubs activated catcher Willson Contreras from the injured list. He has been out since July 14 with a sprained right foot. In addition, left-hander Jon Lester was scratched from his start Wednesday because of illness and was replaced on the mound by right-hander Tyler Chatwood.
Russell served the final 28 games of his 40-game suspension at the start of the season. His punishment came after an MLB investigation into domestic violence against former wife Melisa Reidy, who documented mental and physical abuse in a social media post.
Russell, 25, was batting .247 with six home runs and 16 RBIs in 55 games this season. His demotion came three days after a rough game against the San Diego Padres when he failed to catch two popups, was thrown out at home plate after a ground ball on the infield and admitted to missing signs.
“You have to know the situation in the game and what the score is,” Russell told reporters after Sunday’s game. “You have to know where the ball is, too, and where the fielders are playing, as well. You can’t be too anxious to get to the next base. … Being aggressive on the basepaths does have its advantages and also its disadvantages.”
Contreras, 27, who was named an All-Star in each of the past two seasons, entered Wednesday batting .286 with 19 home runs and 55 RBIs.
Lester, 35, is 9-6 with a 3.87 ERA this season in 19 starts. Chatwood, 29, is 4-1 with a 4.30 ERA this season and was making his first start since June 27 when he gave up six runs on six hits and four walks in five innings against the Atlanta Braves.
–Field Level Media