CHICAGO – Cubs infielder Addison Russell said Friday he respects Cubs fans and that he understands why they might boo him or react negatively to him being on the team.
Russell met with reporters before Friday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers and was asked about a story in the Chicago Sun-Times in which he said that if Cubs fans “want to boo someone that’s trying to help bring the team a World Series again, then that’s on them.”
“Basically everyone is entitled to doing whatever they want to do, thinking whatever they want to think, saying whatever they want to say,” he said. “The reaction to me, I feel like I have to respect that. My actions are what they are, and I have to be responsible for them.
“I have nothing but respect for the fans. It’s a goal to get the respect of the fans back, of the Cubs fans back.”
The Cubs recalled Russell from Triple-A Iowa on Wednesday. They optioned him to Iowa after he served a 40-game suspension for violating MLB’s policy on domestic violence. Loud boos were mixed with cheers when he came to bat in Wednesday night’s game.
When asked if he understands why some fans might boo, Russell said: “Totally understand. It’s a serious issue. What can I do? Get better day by day. That’s all I can do and be the example of a person who’s trying to make things right.”
Manager Joe Maddon said he interacts with Russell daily.
“What I do every day is I talk to him in the dugout to try to get the temperature, see where he’s at,” Maddon said. “I hug him. I encourage him to go out and try to do the right thing, try to make good choices. That’s what I was talking to him about [Thursday].
“My message to him yesterday was to make good choices moving forward.”
A question of command: Maddon said he is not overly concerned that pitcher Yu Darvish is not relying on his fastball more. Darvish has gone only four innings in each of his previous two starts and has only one quality start among his eight starts this season.
“That’s going to be the continued debate with him,” Maddon said. “I know that, and he knows that. The fastball command or the lack of throwing the fastball is something that he is aware of. He’s aware of all that. But what we’ve seen in the past [is] he actually does command the cutter/slider better. There’s nothing wrong with throwing more of those. So you’re wishing for my fastballs or more fastball command, but that’s not his command pitch.”
This and that: Kris Bryant has reached base in 20 straight games, one shy of his career high set in 2016 ... Jose Quintana recorded his team-high fifth quality start in Friday’s 7-0 loss to the Brewers. He gave up three runs in 62/3 innings ... Willson Contreras has hit safely in nine straight games ... The Cubs are 1-3 against Milwaukee this season ... The Cubs had their streak of 15 games with a homer snapped.