PITTSBURGH — The Cubs expect to learn more in the next few days about shortstop Addison Russell’s pace of recovery from his aggravated foot injury, but manager Joe Maddon is preparing for the possibility Russell will miss the rest of the season.
“He could be out the rest of the year; he could be back; I don’t know,” said Maddon, who has rotated defensive-minded newcomer Mike Freeman through second base to assess his middle-infield strength.
“Javy [Baez] has shored up that [shortstop] spot really well,” Maddon said. “My bigger concern right now would be in the latter part of the game, where do you want to go at second base, based on who’s available.”
Russell, who ruptured the plantar fascia ligament in his right foot during a minor-league rehab assignment Aug. 31, was a 2016 All-Star and Gold Glove finalist who drove in six runs during the Cubs’ must-win Game 6 World Series victory in Cleveland (including a grand slam).
Freeman, who was signed last month after the Dodgers released him, appears to be the best defensive option at second (or backing up Baez at short), with Ben Zobrist, Ian Happ and Tommy La Stella also able to play the position.
“If in fact Addy can’t make it back, it’s going to be important to figure out who is the best defensive second baseman to run with in the latter part of the game,” Maddon said.
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