Cubs’ Addison Russell on the verge of making his long-awaited return
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Remember Addison Russell? A long time ago, he played shortstop for the Cubs. Any day now, he’ll actually be back in action.
Russell, who has been sidelined since Aug. 3 with plantar fasciitis in his right foot, indicated before the Cubs’ 8-2 victory Friday against the Cardinals that he could make an appearance in this weekend series at Wrigley Field.
“I’m ready to get out there,” he said.
President of baseball operations Theo Epstein slowed that roll a bit, saying there will be no talk of activating Russell until after a Saturday workout. But it’s coming, unless — perish the thought — Russell has another setback like the one he had three weeks ago.
“Just talking to him on the bench during the games, he’s really excited,” manager Joe Maddon said. “He feels good about himself. He’s pain-free.”
This is as good a time as any to tamp down speculation about Cubdom’s favorite defensive player, Javy Baez, remaining at shortstop and forcing Russell over to second base. It will be the other way around, with Russell manning the position he played so well as the Cubs battled to last fall’s World Series title. Even at second, Baez’s defense was one of the biggest stories of the postseason.
“We’re a damn good defensive unit with Addy at short and Javy at second,” Epstein said.
Also confirmed: If Russell — who’ll be worked back slowly, perhaps not playing a full nine innings for a while — is healthy, it’s a given he’ll play in the postseason. If the Cubs make the playoffs, that is.
“I see these guys go to work every day, and they’re having fun,” Russell said. “I want to be more a part of that.”
The dream scenario
Left-hander Jose Quintana remembers the atmosphere on the South Side as he faced, and beat, the Tigers as a member of the White Sox in September 2012. The teams were in a division race that the Sox would end up losing by three games.
That was Quintana’s answer when asked what he felt was the biggest start of his career.
Quintana is pretty sure the answer will change Sunday, when he faces the Cardinals in the finale of a three-game series.
“That’s the reason I’m here,” he said, “to win games like that one.”
Two months into his Cubs career, Quintana is thinking bigger all the time.
“I dream about the World Series, pitching in Game 7, so I think we can do it,” he said. “But we don’t want it to go seven. Get the Series over as quick as we can. But, for sure, I think about that moment a lot.”
The comeback trail
All six of the Cubs’ victories against the Cardinals at Wrigley have been come-from-behind efforts. The game Friday was their 41st comeback win of the season.
Follow me on Twitter @SLGreenberg.