Addison Russell has been slowly, but surely turning himself into an above average offensive contributor this season, boasting a .317/.381/.455 slash line over his last 114 plate appearances.
He hasn’t quite gotten his season-long production over the proverbial hump yet (his 98 wRC+ suggests he’s been about 2% below average overall), but he’s been particularly hot lately, with 12 hits in his last 32 at-bats (.375 AVG), including a double in yesterday’s game.
Unfortunately, he was also forced to leave the game early when an awkward swing in the top of the fifth inning led to an apparent finger injury:
Russell stayed in the game on defense for the bottom half of the fifth (and made an error), but was lifted in the sixth, as Javy Baez slid over to short and Ben Zobrist entered the game at second. You can read about the injury here, here, and here, but the long and short of it is a bruised and/or sprained left middle finger. It’s been reported both ways.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that today is an off-day, which allows Russell time to rest without missing any games. And the better news is that he seems to believe he can return in time for Tuesday night’s series opener against the Phillies at Wrigley Field – although, I’m not so sure I would count on it. Russell mitigated the optimism by adding a two to three days prediction, so that could be anywhere from Tuesday to Wednesday or beyond. It’s also just hard to know how you’re going to feel over the next few days when an injury only just happened.
Plus, his manager, Joe Maddon, famously likes to use scheduled off-days alongside a day off to get his players a two-day rest from time to time (neither Kris Bryant or Anthony Rizzo started on Sunday, for example). So while it may not have been the plan for Russell’s before the weekend, perhaps now Maddon will use Tuesday as the second day off for Russell, so he can both heal up and get in some extra rest all at once.
And although Russell’s been surging at the plate lately (and his continued development might be among the most important on the North Side), it’s not as though you hate to have an extra start with Javy Baez and Ben Zobrist up the middle, given the way those two have played this season.
The biggest takeaway though is that this doesn’t – so far – seem to be a particularly severe injury to Russell’s non-throwing hand, and there’s reason to hope Russell can be back before the end of the Phillies series on Thursday.