Sunday postponement delays Addison Russell eligible return to Cubs-Cards series
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MIAMI — One byproduct of Sunday’s postponement of the Cubs-Angels game is that shortstop Addison Russell’s eligible return date from his domestic violence suspension is pushed back to May 3.
Assuming the Cubs activate him at that point as expected, that would mean a controversial return at home in the Cubs’ first game of the season against the Cardinals, instead of on the road against Seattle, with an scheduled off day the next day.
“You’d like the soft landing, but he’s had a lot of difficult moments that he’s handled pretty well so I don’t know how much more difficult it’s going to be for him,” manager Joe Maddon said.
“I think he’ll be steeled in a sense,” he added. “He’ll be prepared for anything that comes his way, and he’ll have us there to support him.”
Maddon, who texted with Russell as recently as Monday, said he still anticipates returning him to shortstop, with Javy Baez moving back to second base.
Cubs catcher Willson Contreras homered, singled, walked and was hit by a pitch Monday – continuing a surge to open the season that has him hitting .341 with six homers, a .341 on-base percentage and whopping .829 slugging percentage.
Contreras said during spring training he had made one slight adjustment to his swing to improve timing and said Monday night that the difference actually has been more mental than mechanical.
Either way, Maddon sees no reason why his success won’t carry deep into the season.
“There’s only one thing Willson’s got to do: Keep his strike zone organized,” Maddon said. “If he does that, he’ll hit like that all year.”
Notes: Sunday’s snowed-out game has been rescheduled for Monday, June 3, at Wrigley Field at 3:05 p.m., immediately following the Cubs’ series at St. Louis. … Swingman Mike Montgomery (lat) is scheduled to throw two innings in a minor-league rehab game for Class A South Bend on Tuesday. …Catcher Victor Caratini underwent surgery for the broken hamate bone in his left hand. His recovery timeline remains 4-6 weeks. …Third base coach Brian Butterfield, who was out sick over the weekend, remained at home for the brief trip to continue his recovery.