Last week Addison Russell joined the Iowa Cubs for a rehab assignment that was viewed by many as a precursor to him returning to the Chicago Cubs lineup at the conclusion of his 40-game suspension for domestic violence. Russell has been serving a suspension since last September when his ex-wife Melisa Reidy published a blog expanding on allegations that had originally surfaced on social media in 2017. Over the offseason disturbing details of those allegations were revealed in a number of interviews with The Athletic, ESPN and Expanded Roster.
Many had speculated that Russell would make his debut on Friday, May 3 at Wrigley Field for the Cubs first game of 2019 against their rivals the NL Central leading St. Louis Cardinals, although as Al noted earlier this week it was not a foregone conclusion. Before Tuesday’s series opener against the Seattle Mariners Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein, made it official and told reporters that Russell would be optioned to Triple-A Iowa on Thursday:
Theo Epstein just shared that Addison Russell has been told he’ll be optioned on Thursday. No timeline, but he’s expected to be in Iowa for a few more weeks.— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) May 1, 2019
ESPN’s Jesse Rogers noted that the Cubs decision to option Russell to Iowa was “a baseball decision” but clarified that obviously Russell has to “continue his progress off the field” to join the major league squad:
Theo said this is a baseball decision but obviously Addison has to continue his progress off the field RT @ESPNChiCubs: Cubs to option Addison Russell to Triple-A come Friday, per Theo.— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) May 1, 2019
Russell has played six games for the Iowa Cubs and is slashing .250/.423/.500 against Triple-A pitching. He has five strikeouts and five walks in 20 plate appearances for the I-Cubs. He has also been taking reps at second base and has indicated a willingness to change positions to get back to the 25-man roster in Chicago.