When tonight’s lineup was released today, I was relatively shocked to see Addison Russell’s named etched into the ninth spot of batting order and out there at shortstop, given the acquisition of second baseman Daniel Murphy.
Obviously, Murphy was never going to get to Detroit in time to play the Tigers tonight, but the idea was that Russell must be heading to the disabled list in order to make room for Murphy on the otherwise full 25-man roster or even just at second base (via Javy Baez moving to short for the near future).
The timing of the Murphy acquisition was certainly not in the Cubs’ hands (the Nationals placed him on waivers when they decided to place him on waivers), but it’s not difficult or even incorrect to connect Murphy’s pickup with Russell’s struggles and reported injuries.
To that end, well, he’s not officially headed to the disabled list just yet, but Addison Russell has been scratched from tonight’s lineup:
Addison Russell is not starting tonight due to a shoulder issue. He’s had leg and hand problems as well.
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) August 21, 2018
I am further surprised to learn that Russell is once again dealing with a shoulder injury. That’s been something that’s bothered him throughout his career (most usually affecting his throws from short to first), but it’s been a while since those issues have popped up. Indeed, his hand injury is what we’ve been focusing on here lately.
As for the leg injury … I have no clue where that’s coming from, but you can add it to the pile.
Given the collection of injuries, the acquisition of Murphy, Russell’s recent struggles, Javy Baez’s ability to play short, and our proximity to rosters expanding on September 1st, my bet is that Russell goes on the DL quite soon. It makes sense logistically and it makes sense strategically.
We haven’t yet heard how he’ll be replaced in tonight’s lineup, but with the DH involved, it could be tricky. The Cubs bench is already limited to just Victor Caratini, Tommy La Stella, and Ian Happ. I’ll update this post as soon as we know.
UPDATE: The new lineup:
Addison Russell has been scratched from tonight’s lineup due to right shoulder inflammation. pic.twitter.com/mjhvxPzqq2
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 21, 2018