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Cubs vet past anti-gay comments before trading for Daniel Murphy

Murphy was acquired Tuesday from the Nationals in a waiver-wire trade.

DETROIT — General manager Jed Hoyer said the Cubs were sensitive to anti-gay comments Daniel Murphy made to media three seasons ago and reached out to Major League Baseball’s ambassador for inclusion, Billy Bean, before completing Tuesday’s trade for the second baseman.

“We wanted to get his impression on it,” Hoyer said. “He was really positive and thought the organization could really benefit from his presence. We felt it was important to make that phone call.”

Bean, the former big-league player who is openly gay, was actually the focus of Murphy’s comments after speaking to the Mets in 2015.

Citing his personal faith, Murphy said at the time: “I disagree with his lifestyle. I do disagree with the fact that Bean is a homosexual. That doesn’t mean I can’t still invest in him and get to know him. … We [as Christians] love the people. We disagree with the lifestyle. That’s the way I would describe it for me.”

Through all the attention, Murphy and Bean eventually developed a friendship.

Slower the better for Morrow

Before scheduling his next throwing session from a mound, the Cubs plan to have closer Brandon Morrow undergo another test on the area at the back of his elbow, where he has a bone bruise.

Morrow hasn’t had any setbacks, but Hoyer said the Cubs will take a cautious approach that will include continued scans of the injured area as Morrow continues a throwing program.


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Morrow said he is resigned to the likelihood he will pitch through some “achiness” the rest of the season. The priority at this point is to have him as close to pain-free and full strength as possible for the playoffs.

“If I’m closer to the end of the season, maybe some of those innings will count for a little bit extra,” Morrow said.

Russell to DL

As expected, shortstop Addison Russell went on the 10-day disabled list to make room on the roster for Murphy.

Russell has played through numerous nagging injuries in recent weeks. He’s currently dealing with a sprained left middle finger he originally injured in early June.

Russell is 19-for-88 (.216) with three extra-base hits and a .508 OPS since the All-Star break

“He’s pretty beat up right now,” manager Joe Maddon said. “Let’s get him well; let’s get him ready for the last month and see where that takes us. I think you’ll see a different animal when he comes back.”

This and that

Third baseman Kris Bryant (shoulder) ramped up his work on the field before the game. He could be on track to return when rosters expand Sept. 1. “He’s getting close,” said Maddon, adding that Bryant’s next step is a minor-league rehab assignment.

• The Cubs aren’t ready to announce Friday’s starter to take Mike Montgomery’s next turn in the rotation, but Maddon said they won’t (intentionally) cover it with a bullpen day.

• Maddon’s annual American Legion week — in which players are told to arrive later for games and skip pregame work — couldn’t come at a better time for a slumping lineup, Maddon said: “A rested mind and body right now plays a lot better than a tired one.”