Cubs’ Addison Russell makes adjustments to play through finger issue
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CINCINNATI — Cubs shortstop Addison Russell returned to the lineup Saturday after missing a day because of a sore finger he aggravated on a swing in Thursday’s game.
It’s the same left middle finger he injured on a swing in New York on June 3, and he expects it to be a season-long issue to manage because of lingering damage in the knuckle.
The injury actually included a fracture that has since healed, he said.
Russell bats with the middle finger taped to the index finger on the outside of his batting glove. He uses his fielding glove normally.
“It was definitely an adjustment,” he said. “It’s uncomfortable at first, but once you take enough swings, it’s almost like it becomes second nature.”
It hasn’t seemed to have any negative impact. Russell was 11-for-36 (.306) with five walks, two doubles and a homer since taking four days off after the injury — validating his decision to play rather than go on the 10-day disabled list.
“I felt like I didn’t need to. I was really confident how my finger was feeling each day,” he said.
It’s still sensitive, and swings like Thursday’s, when the finger got jammed again on his follow-through, can make it swell into
the next day, like Friday.
“It’s going to be a six-month thing to where I feel comfortable again,” he said. “That’s what the doctor said. But you just keep playing. There’s probably going to be some days where it flares up. We’ll just manage it from there.”
Almora write-in campaign
Albert Almora Jr., the Cubs’ leading hitter and the sixth-leading hitter in the National League, didn’t crack the lineup.
But that’s not stopping one teammate from launching a write-in campaign for the center fielder to make the NL All-Star team.
Almora is not on either the fans’ or the players’ ballots for All-Star voting. And player voting concluded last weekend.
But reliever Pedro Strop is making Instagram and Twitter pleas for his teammate, who “is having an outstanding season.”
“Let’s get Albert some votes,” he wrote.
This and that
Kris Bryant, who was 1-for-8 with four strikeouts in the first two games of the series, got a game off. “Obviously, he’s struggling a little bit; I didn’t want to push it,” manager Joe Maddon said. “I’m just looking to get him a day.”
• Left-hander Rob Zastryzny left the game in the sixth inning after experiencing lower-back tightness. He tried to pitch through it, but catcher Willson Contreras sensed something wrong and signaled to the bench. Zastryzny said after the game that it wasn’t serious.
• The Cubs have allowed two grand slams — both to the Reds in this series (Jesse Winker on Thursday and pitcher Anthony DeSclafani on Saturday).
• Catcher Chris Gimenez made his 10th career pitching appearance, his first for the Cubs. He pitched the eighth and allowed a single, a walk and a three-run homer to Joey Votto. His career ERA in 10 innings: 9.90. He pitched six times for the Twins last year.
• Tyler Chatwood, whose wife is expecting their first child in the next day or two, still had not been called back to Chicago as of Saturday night and remains on schedule to start the series finale Sunday.