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Cubs hopeful Addison Russell could return for possible World Series

Cubs shortstop Addison Russell’s hamstring injury is serious enough that the Cubs will leave the rookie off the roster for the National League Championship Series, manager Joe Maddon said Thursday.

Maddon said the club is hopeful Russell can return if the Cubs reach the World Series.

Javy Baez becomes the starting shortstop for the NLCS, with former All-Star shortstop Starlin Castro staying at second base.

Russell hurt the left hamstring legging a triple in the fourth inning of Monday’s Game 3 division series victory over the Cardinals.

“It’s considered a moderate strain,” Maddon said. “Not mild, a little more on the moderate side. I just spoke with him, and the big thing there was to ameliorate his mind in the sense that he knows what’s happening next.

“He’s not going to necessarily push it right now. Let’s go on a more normal pace with the training staff, not test it to the point where you injure it again by trying to be too aggressive.”

Even if the Cubs get to their first World Series since 1945, Russell’s status is at least doubtful, considering the demands of the position he plays.

“There’s so much going on out there movement-wise that can’t be controlled necessarily,” Maddon said. “You have to react and play.

“We’ll be very pragmatic about it. We’ll just play it all the way through and see how it plays.”