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MLB investigating racist social-media messages sent to Cubs’ Carl Edwards Jr.

Cubs pitcher Carl Edwards Jr. | Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

MIAMI – Racist social-media posts by “cowards” targeting Cubs reliever Carl Edwards Jr. when he was demoted to the minors more than a week ago are being investigated by Major League Baseball security, sources confirmed Tuesday.

The messages on Instagram, first reported by The Athletic, were filled with racist references, including the “N” word, according to Chicago sports site Thebigs.us.

Sources say the posts were brought to the attention of the team by Edwards’ agent and then passed on to MLB security. It wasn’t immediately clear on a possible recourse, assuming the offender(s) is identified.

“I think it’s a real vocal minority that’s involved in this, and it’s up to us right now to really help Carl understand that and know that we’re here for him,” said manager Joe Maddon, who planned to reach out to Edwards, who is pitching for Class AAA Iowa. “It’s 2019, man. It’s a bad method. I don’t think Twitter’s turning out the way it was intended.”

Edwards, who helped the Cubs win the 2016 World Series as a rookie, got off to a rough start with his command this season after a hesitation move in his delivery was ruled illegal. After being demoted to the minors to work on his command problems April 6, the posts became more viscous and racist.

“It’s awful,” general manager Jed Hoyer said. “Needless to say, there’s no place in our game or society for comments like that, and you just feel for someone like C.J. It’s hard enough to pitch in the big leagues. I can only imagine how hard it is to deal with comments like that, and unfortunately, it sounds like this isn’t just an isolated incident [throughout MLB].”

African Americans make up less than 8% of MLB players, and reports of abuse continue to arise annually.

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“I think the nature of social media allows people the anonymity to say things to have a huge impact on the psyche of our players, and it’s really unfortunate,” Hoyer said.

Said Maddon: “Technologically speaking, it’s taking us backward because cowards have this ability now to put their mind out there, where in the past they actually had to do it in person.”

Through Monday, Edwards had pitched in three games for Iowa, allowing one run in four innings with three strikeouts and one walk. The Cubs don’t have a timeline for his return to the big-league roster.

Montgomery update

Swingman Mike Montgomery, on the injured list with a strained lat, had his first minor-league rehab appearance pushed back to Wednesday after his wife gave birth to their son.

The left-hander, who rescued the rotation last season with a career-high 19 starts, is scheduled to pitch two innings (around 35 pitches) at Class A South Bend and build up to three innings a few days later and be evaluated at that point.

The build-up process is more about allowing Montgomery to fine-tune his pitches than any imminent rotation plans.

“We haven’t drawn it all the way out yet, but the fact that it’s not so far gone from when he began on the [IL], I don’t think it’s going to be a long process,” Maddon said.