Theo Epstein Explains Addison Russell 'Second Chance'

670 The Score

(670 The Score)  -- In a series of notable roster moves before Wednesday's game against the Miami Marlins, the Chicago Cubs called up shortstop Addison Russell from Triple-A Iowa and placed infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist on the restricted list as he deals with a personal matter.

The Cubs also placed reliever Pedro Strop on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring strain. It's a grade-2 strain, he told reporters. In a corresponding move, left-hander Mike Montgomery has been activated from the injured list after he recovered from a lat strain.

Russell will start at second base and bat eighth. It will mark his first game with the Cubs since he was given a 40-game suspension last September for violating the league's joint domestic violence policy. Russell was eligible to return to the Cubs last Friday, but the organization chose to keep him at Triple-A Iowa to round into better playing form.

The Cubs originally intended to call up Russell next Tuesday, but Zobrist's situation and infielder Daniel Descalso only being available to pinch-hit due to injury moved up Russell's timeline, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said.

Epstein called it "appropriate" for the Cubs to give Russell this "conditional second chance," citing his personal progress and organization's responsibilty and desire to be a "small part of the solution." Russell met an "extensive list of conditions" to get back to this point, Epstein said, but much work remains.

"This is not a finish line," Epstein said. "This does not represent the end of the road or an accomplishment in any way. He has the majority of the road ahead of him ... It's life-long."

Russell, 25, hit .222 with three homers, 13 RBIs and an .824 OPS in 12 games at Triple-A. Russell struggled offensively for the Cubs in 2018, hitting .250 with career-low marks of five homers, 38 RBIs and a .657 OPS.

No timeline has been given for Zobrist returning from what the team termed an "indefinite" leave of absence. Zobrist was a late scratch from the Cubs' lineup Tuesday evening.

Strop hits the injured list after his worst performance of the season Monday, when he walked three batters and allowed a hit without recording an out in blowing a save in the Cubs' eventual 6-5 loss to the Marlins. He dealt with an injury to his right hamstring in the spring, so this ailment is a new one.

Montgomery had an ugly 16.88 ERA in four outings early in the season before hitting the injured list.