“A sharp, pinching pain.”
That’s how Addison Russell described the discomfort in his shoulder that led to his removal from the game yesterday, and has troubled him for much of this season.
If a pitcher said something like that, you’d be on the floor. It’s only slightly less troubling to hear from a Cubs position player, even as Russell and manager Joe Maddon downplayed the seriousness of his injury.
“There’s a difference between whenever you’re trying to work through something or you’re working against something,” Russell told CSN after the game. “I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with my shoulder. But I definitely want to make sure, so I have that [peace of] mind.”
Russell added, per the Sun-Times, that he expects to be day-to-day for now, and isn’t sure whether an MRI will be required.
Joe Maddon seemed to think the “injury” is more about Russell’s body developing physically, as opposed to an actual structural issue. But he’s ready to get more information.
“Nobody seems to think it’s awful,” Maddon said. “Right now, I’m not hearing bad, so I just need to be educated more on it, because I’m hearing with maintenance, with exercise, all that kind of stuff, he should be able to play. But of course, I do not want to play anybody that’s injured …. [I]t’s never been debilitating. It’s just something that requires a little bit of rest and then he’s fine again. It’s just a young arm. Almost like a young pitcher, as he develops more arm strength and gets into probably a more consistent routine in between playing [with] exercises to prevent that kind of a nagging thing.”
Russell is just 23, with limited professional experience, and given the throwing requirements from shortstop, it is at least conceivable that Russell just needs to continue developing physically to deal with the shoulder issue.
Like Maddon said, though, I’m sensitive to not seeing a guy play through an injury simply because he can, and doing so at the risk of (1) future injury or worsening injury, and (2) degraded performance.
We’ll see what comes next for Russell. The Cubs will call up Jeimer Candelario to provide a little position player cover if Russell has to sit a few days. Whether he ultimately requires a DL stint will depend on how he feels today and tomorrow, and/or whether the Cubs opt for an MRI (depending, obviously, on what it does or does not reveal.