Addison Russell not assured to start at shortstop over Javier Baez when he returns to Cubs

Mark Gonzales, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Baseball

"Any kind of advantage you can get during any moment of the game is huge, especially in a close game. He does that with his glove. He does that with his bat. He does that running the bases and does that in the clubhouse for us. It's huge. It's special to have someone like that.

"We have a lot of special guys like that, but Javy is Javy."

Left-hander Cole Hamels, who was taken off the hook after Baez hit his home run, said Baez "makes it look easy."

"I've been very fortunate to have some very good shortstops that have won some MVPs (Jimmy Rollins) and had some great careers (two-time All-Star Elvis Andrus)," Hamels said. "I'd say he's right in line with those guys.

"It's nice to have a guy like that because you want to be able to count on your shortstop with the amount of plays."

Russell played shortstop in the minors but was promoted to the majors in April 2015 as a second baseman and stayed there until Starlin Castro was benched in early August.

Russell remained at short and has exceptional range, but Baez has the same range and a more powerful arm. At the same time, Daniel Descalso and David Bote have provided key contributions at second base and at the plate.


It's difficult to determine Russell's value to the Cubs.

But for now, their biggest looming issue in the midst of their winning stretch is finding where Russell fits best as Baez leads the offense with 21 RBIs -- including 15 with two out.

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