CHICAGO — Addison Russell rejoined the Chicago Cubs Wednesday after completing a 40-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball's domestic violence policy and spending time in the minors.
Russell and the Cubs don't believe the 2016 All-Star has become a completely changed man since his ex-wife accused him of physical and emotional abuse, but they do believe he's made positive strides. With the Cubs needing an infielder for a depleted roster, Russell has been deemed the best option available.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Cubs called up the infielder from the Iowa Cubs. He started at second base for the Cubs as they faced the Marlins for the third of a four-game series.
He took the spot of Ben Zobrist on the roster as he takes a leave of absence. Pedro Strop is also headed to the 10-day injured list with a strained left hamstring with Mike Montgomery returning to take his spot.
This was the first time Russell had the chance to play since Sept. 19, when he was last on the Cubs' active roster. On the next day, an essay from his ex-wife Melisa Reidy was published, and Russell was placed on administrative leave the next day.
At the conclusion of an investigation by the MLB that began in 2017, Russell was given the 40-game ban on Oct. 3.
With the suspension starting on Sept. 21 of last season, the infielder was eligible to return to the Cubs prior to this past weekend's series with the Cardinals. But Russell remained in Triple-A, where he'd arrived earlier in the week to start working back into playing shape after spending the last month with the Cubs' Arizona rookie team.
In 12 games with the Iowa Cubs, Russell is hitting .222 with three homers and 13 RBI.
Russell's return was met with mixed reaction from fans. When he was introduced during the game, there were boos from the crowd. However, some fans said they were OK with the team giving Russell a second chance.
Cubs team president Theo Epstein said this is just yet another step in a long road to recovery and that he wants the team to play a small part of the solution.