Must be the shoes: Addison Russell tricky arch injury could linger
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Could shortstop Addison Russell be sidelined into September by his foot injury — believed to require only a minimal stay on the disabled list when he went on the 10-day DL two weeks ago?
He has no idea, and neither do the Cubs.
“No timetable right now,” Russell said after noting that the “strain” in his right foot involves plantar fasciitis, a tricky, sometimes-persistent injury to the arch.
Entering Tuesday night’s game, the Cubs were 5-6 since Russell last played.
The injury “snuck up” on him, he said, as he broke in a pair of new baseball shoes during the first week of the month.
“I feel like those shoes may have not been as worn as I wanted them to be,” he said. “I’m switching shoes in and out, day to day. So I don’t think it had anything to do with the shoe — or it could have had something to do with the shoe. I think it was more something that just crept up on me.”
Either way, the 2016 All-Star — who has struggled on and off the field this year — is forced to tread lightly on the foot during rehab work as he gets used to insoles and waits for the pain to subside enough for the medical staff to offer a better idea of a timeline.
“It’s definitely a position I don’t want to be in, but I have to take advantage of the position I’m in, getting stronger in the gym, doing my treatment and supporting my teammates,” Russell said. “I’m definitely taking this time to evaluate my body and get stronger so I can be that much more impactful when I come back.”
Russell won’t play during this weeklong homestand. Even if he were to be healed enough to play shortly after that, manager Joe Maddon said Tuesday he expects Russell to need at least a brief minor-league rehab assignment.
Meanwhile, Javy Baez has played every day at short in Russell’s absence, underscoring both the luxury the Cubs have in a second big-league-caliber shortstop and the need to get Russell back to stabilize the middle infield.
“Javy’s having a wonderful year overall. It’s just a matter of putting him out there too often sometimes,” Maddon said after Baez committed a costly error during a loss at Arizona on Saturday night. “I like to give him a break once in a while. Right now there’s no break. We need Addison back to balance it out. When Javy’s on the other side, we’re really good on the infield.”
NOTES: Manager Joe Maddon said he expects World Series Most Valuable Player Ben Zobrist to return to the starting lineup Wednesday after two days of resting a sore neck. Zobrist pinch-hit Tuesday.
• That four-man outfield that Maddon employed against the torrid-hitting Joey Votto on Monday night? Maddon and bench coach Davey Martinez decided on it before the game after poring over the hitting and pitching charts and coming to the same conclusion almost simultaneously.
“It was almost like that scene in ‘Step Brothers’ when they became best friends,” Maddon said. “We thought the same thing at the same time: ‘Four outfielders.’ ”
• With a second walk in the sixth inning Tuesday, Votto extended his streak of reaching base at least twice in a game to 20 — one short of Ted Williams’ 1948 record.
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