Suspended Russell set to play 7 games in minors

CHICAGO -- Suspended Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell will play seven games at Triple-A Iowa beginning Wednesday before being eligible to rejoin the big league club on May 3.

Russell, 25, was suspended 40 games in September for violating the league's domestic abuse policy after details emerged about his former marriage.

Under league rules, Russell is allowed to play up to seven games in the minors before his suspension is complete. He has been working out at the Cubs' spring complex in Mesa, Arizona, this month after participating in spring training with the club.

"I know he's eager and anxious to get out there," manager Joe Maddon said Tuesday. "My conversations with him have been about baseball and how he's feeling."

The Cubs have monitored Russell's mandated counseling, calling his return to the Cubs a "conditional second chance."

Maddon was asked if the Cubs are prepping Russell for what could be a less than positive response from some fans when he returns.

"Let's get him playing, and then after that we'll make our call," Maddon said. "I'm certain we'll discuss those kinds of things prior to him getting here."

It's not clear what role Russell has with the team right now. National League MVP runner-upJavier Baezhas thrived at shortstop, and the Cubs are well off at second base with Ben Zobrist, Daniel Descalso and David Bote sharing playing time.

There's still a chance that Russell could be traded, just as Toronto Blue Jays pitcherRoberto Osunawas last season with days left on his suspension for the same violation.

The Cubs did make one move on Tuesday, as Bote was placed on paternity leave, and the team recalled lefty reliever Randy Rosario. Bote is expected back on Wednesday.
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