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GOP donors visit Wrigley for Cardinals-Cubs game

During a radio appearance Friday, Cubs president Theo Epstein didn’t raise any issues with the event.

During a radio appearance Friday, Theo Epstein didn’t raise any issues with the event at Wrigley Field that welcomed high-level GOP donors.
AP Photos

High-level GOP donors were scheduled to attend the Cardinals-Cubs game Saturday as part of the Trump Victory Committee summer retreat.

Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts is the finance chairman of the Trump Victory Committee, and the retreat was scheduled to include acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.

During an appearance Friday on The Score, Cubs president Theo Epstein, a supporter of the Democratic Party, didn’t raise any issues with the event. He said that people have the ‘‘right to host events here, especially the owners’’ and that he has hosted events at Wrigley for those on the other side of the political spectrum.

‘‘This is a venue that is attractive to a lot of groups, and as long as it’s of equal opportunity on all sides, I don’t think there’s a tremendous argument against it,’’ Epstein said. ‘‘Leaving my political leanings out of it, I’ll just say I know for a fact that this venue has hosted groups from both sides of the political spectrum and will probably continue to do so going forward.

‘‘This one’s getting publicity, but it’s really not something I give a lot of thought to. As long as I know it’s balanced on both sides, that’s all you can ask for.’’

Second thoughts

Until hitting a sacrifice fly as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning and staying in to play second base, Addison Russell hadn’t played since Tuesday, when he hurt his right hand near his thumb on a slide. He was going to play Wednesday but didn’t because of the soreness. That gave David Bote the start, and he drove in seven runs.

Russell is part of a crowded picture at second, where the Cubs also can use Bote and Daniel Descalso. Descalso has struggled recently, hitting .071 in his last 14 at-bats.

When Russell is healthy, manager Joe Maddon said he likes having him and Javy Baez up the middle.

‘‘There’s more options; that’s the best way,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘It’s just all about optionability.’’

Maddon also is juggling the outfield, which needs to accommodate Jason Heyward, Carlos Gonzalez, Kyle Schwarber, Albert Almora and sometimes Kris Bryant.

About Strop

Since Brandon Morrow went down last season, Pedro Strop has served as the Cubs’ de facto closer. Of course, that will end when Craig Kimbrel is ready to pitch.

But Maddon said he had no worries about how Strop would handle going back to his old role, saying he is low-maintenance.

‘‘I didn’t feel it was necessary to talk to Pedro,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘I will, but I didn’t think I had to be pre-emptive in talking to him.’’

In the fold

According to a published report, the Cubs have signed first-round pick Ryan Jensen. Jensen, a right-hander from Fresno State, reportedly signed for $2 million, which would be below the slot value for the 27th overall pick.

Now batting

Bulls guard Zach LaVine threw out a ceremonial pitch and took batting practice earlier in the day.