Scratched yesterday, Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell says he’s dealing with shoulder soreness that he can’t quite pinpoint to any one moment.
“My shoulder’s fine – it’s just soreness right now,” Russell told Cubs.com after yesterday’s game. “It hasn’t been feeling the best for the past week. It’s better if it’s addressed right now. It’s pretty good that I got my rest today, an off-day tomorrow, and then Friday we’re going to see how it feels.”
Russell said he was concerned that if he did more throwing yesterday, it would be like “putting gas on a fire,” and he felt better by the end of the day after doing his normal work minus the throwing. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow.
Obviously it would sting to lose Russell for any appreciable amount of time, as the Cubs are already without their other impact starting defender, Jason Heyward (DL for knuckle injury). Not having both of those guys in St. Louis would be a serious blow to the team’s defense, and to the pitchers who need help on that front right now.
Offensively, Russell is hitting just .227/.293/.359 on the year, though he still sports solid K (18.6%) and BB (7.9%). Most of his diminished production has come by way of a depressed BABIP (.270) and ISO (.133), some of which is probably just small sample bad luck, and some of which is probably that he’s not hitting the ball as hard as he usually does right now (23.5% hard hit rate is down nearly six percentage points from last year).
Could some of the down offensive performance be this lingering shoulder issue? Well, Russell’s exit velocity is down considerably lately, and his toughest stretch of the season has come in the last 12 games, when he’s hitting just .122/.218/.184.
Again, that could also be small sample size flukiness, or it could be the manifestation of shoulder discomfort in Russell’s swings.
Hopefully a couple days off will help improve the situation, and we’ll see him back out there tomorrow. If not, you wonder if the Cubs will think about a DL stint, since the minimum is just seven days, and Russell will have already missed three at that point.