Whether someone offered PR advice to Joe Maddon after an awkward exchange during his weekly radio appearance Tuesday, the Cubs’ manager said Wednesday he finally had read the emotionally charged blog that re-ignited baseball’s domestic-violence investigation into Addison Russell.
“My stance has not changed,” said Maddon, after a new report circulated that Russell’s ex-wife, who published the blog last week, had been interviewed by league investigators, which is part of “additional credible information,” cited in the report by The Athletic.
The blog post outlined emotional, verbal and physical abuse by Russell, including physical abuse in front of their son.
“Domestic violence is horrible, absolutely it is,” Maddon added. “By reading that, you feel her pain, absolutely. But in the end, there’s nothing that I’m able to do. This is in the hands of MLB and the players’ union, period.
“That was my initial stance, and that is my stance.”
Russell has been on paid administrative leave since Friday and is expected to have that seven-day leave extended. It’s doubtful he will play another game for the Cubs.
“It’s horrible to think what that lady’s gone through, absolutely,” Maddon said, “but I don’t know enough about the other side. So I’m waiting for the full report to come out, and then we can all draw conclusions at that point.”
Maddon has said since Friday he has not reached out to Russell since the latest action. But he said Russell texted him Tuesday.
“He just wanted to encourage us to play well. That was the gist of the text,” Maddon said. “ ‘Good luck, I’m with you guys,’ that kind of stuff.”
Third baseman Kris Bryant was out of the lineup Wednesday, a day after being hit on the left wrist by a pitch.
Bryant, who was available for possible pinch-running duty, is expected to be a game-by-game decision for the final four games of the regular season.
“It’s sore,” Maddon said, “but it’s not as swollen as he thought it would be.”
X-rays on the bruised wrist were negative Tuesday night. The two-time All-Star already is dealing with recurring shoulder soreness that has cost him 7½ weeks on the DL this season.
Scoring skid vs. Pirates ends
When Jason Heyward hit a two-run homer in the first inning Wednesday night it snapped a streak of six consecutive games against the Pirates in which the Cubs scored one or no runs.
It was the fourth time and first since 1992 against the Braves that the Cubs were held to five runs in a six-game stretch against an opponent. It also happened in 1980 against the Astros and 1904 against he Pirates (source: Cubs historian Ed Hartig).
“We have not swung the bats well against these guys; we’ve got to figure it out pretty quickly,” said Maddon, before the Cubs scored two each in the first, third and fourth innings.
The Cubs had scored one run in 24 innings overall before that.