Cubs will be without SS Russell in NLCS

Cubs will be without SS Russell in NLCS

Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell, who strained his left hamstring during the National League Division Series, will miss the NL Championship Series, manager Joe Maddon announced Thursday.

“Hopefully, if everything plays properly and we have another opportunity to play in another round, he might be available at that time, but for sure not this one,” Maddon said during the Cubs’ off-day practice at Wrigley Field.

Russell left Game 3 of the NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday after getting hurt while running out a fourth-inning triple. He didn’t play in Game 4 on Tuesday as the Cubs clinched their place in the NLCS.

Even though the Cubs are leaving Russell off their NLCS roster, he would be eligible to be reinstated to the roster for the World Series if Chicago advances.

Javier Baez, who filled in for Russell at shortstop the last game and a half against the Cardinals, figures to man the position against either the Los Angeles Dodgers or the New York Mets. Baez hit a crucial homer in Game 5 against St. Louis after committing an error in Game 4.

“The big thing with him is the consistency on defense,” Maddon said. “We have to catch the ball. I know he can do that. It’s a mental thing.”

Baez is 4-for-5 in the postseason after hitting .289 with one homer and four RBIs in 28 regular-season games.

If the Cubs decide to add an infielder to fill Russell’s roster spot, Jonathan Herrera is the logical choice. Herrera was on the Cubs’ roster all season but didn’t make the roster for the NL wild-card game or the NLDS.

In his first major league season, Russell batted .242 with a .307 on-base percentage, a .389 slugging percentage, 13 homers and 54 RBIs in 142 games.