|Addison Russell's defense will be missed at shortstop. Above, before he hits the ground, he pitches the ball to the second baseman to record a forced out.|
WHAT A DIFFERENCE a year makes. A year ago, Chicago Cubs shortstop had just appeared in the All-Star game and his team was on the way to appearing in the MLB playoffs.
That year the Cubs would go all the way and win the World Series, breaking a championship drought that began in 1908.
This year, the Filipino/American ballplayer has been hampered by injury, his battling average is down, his starting position is in danger and in his personal life he's mired in a messy divorce proceedings involving accusations of domestic abuse.
On Aug. 31, an MRI showed a re-aggravation of the plantar fasciitis that put Russell on the disabled list on Aug. 3. The Cubs are looking at a three-week absence for their star shortstop, then tag on rehab practices. Basically, he's out for the rest of the regular season that ends at the end of this month. There is also a possibility that Russell could miss out on the post season.
That would leave a defensive void at shortstop. As good as Javier Baez is at the plate, his defense can't match Russell's quick reaction to the hit ball.
Last year was the best year of the 23-year old Russell's life. This year, not so much.