The Cubs considered how Addison Russell was hitting, how he performed this spring, how the big league team needed help at second base. But manager Joe Maddon looked at another element of Russell’s game.
“When you’re going to possibly promote somebody like him with limited experience, you have to look at the person,” Maddon said Tuesday prior to Russell’s Major League debut with the Cubs. “Do you think the guy can handle it? I’m not worried about him handling success — how can he handle failure?
“I think he can and we think he can,” Maddon said. “It may appear premature to some, but it’s only done because you think he can deal with it. Part of it is need right now and we do think he can handle it right now. The fact that he’s been a quick study at second base helps.”
Russell arrived at PNC Park a little surprised at getting the news from Triple-A Iowa manager Marty Pevey.
“I went to Triple-A with the mindset that I’m going to finish out at Triple-A,” said Russell, who has played 14 games at the Triple-A level. “I’m excited. I think this is a good thing for me and it’s going to push me and I’m looking forward to it.”
Russell is now the youngest active player in the National League at 21 years 88 days, beating the Nationals’ Bryce Harper (22 years 187 days). The youngest active players in the Majors are Blue Jays pitchers Roberto Osuna and Miguel Castro. Both are 20 years old.
“I just like playing this game,” Russell said. “I’m here for a reason.”
— Carrie Muskat