Cubs send Addison Russell to the minor leagues to make room for Willson Contreras on the roster


The Cubs had to clear up a roster spot Wednesday morning in San Francisco to make room for Willson Contreras coming off the injured list.

Roughly two hours before first pitch, that move was revealed to be Addison Russell going back down to the minor leagues, the team confirmed.

Russell has had a rough go of it lately, including a miserable game last Saturday at Wrigley Field when he was thrown out on the basepaths twice and made a number of other mistakes. 

Since that day, Russell has not started for the Cubs, finding himself as a sub only in three straight contests.

On the season, he is hitting .247 with a .733 OPS, 6 homers and 16 RBI in 55 games after missing the first month while finishing out his suspension for domestic violence. He has several minor-league options remaining, so the Cubs could send him back to Triple-A Iowa without losing him to another organization.

What this means for Russell's future with the club this season and beyond is unclear. It could simply be a temporary move as the Cubs roll with three catchers now that Contreras is back from injury and Martin Maldonado is in the mix. Russell still looms as the Cubs' main backup option at shortstop behind Javy Baez and that depth is necessary at the moment in case of injury. 

In the short term, the Cubs appear to be fine with rolling out the switch-hitting Robel Garcia as the everyday second baseman with David Bote and Daniel Descalso as bench options. Garcia has started four straight games, including each of the last three at second base.

Bote began the year as the Cubs' emergency shortstop, but he has struggled defensively this year after a breakout 2018 campaign.

The Cubs also had to make a last-minute change to Wednesday's starting pitcher, as Jon Lester is ill. Tyler Chatwood will take his place in the final game in San Francisco.

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