3:55pm: The Cubs have now also issued a statement, via press release: “Last night, we were made aware of a serious claim posted on social media about Addison Russell. We reached out to Major League Baseball and, following the protocol established by MLB, will fully cooperate with the Commissioner’s Office as it gathers pertinent facts. Addison will not be in uniform tonight to allow him to work through this matter.”
It should be stressed, of course, that there’s no team-issued suspension at play here. The Cubs, rather, are merely giving Russell a day off to work through the matter (as noted by ESPN’s Jesse Rogers). They’ll play a man short for tonight’s game.
3:35pm: Both Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago/670 The Score and Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago report that MLB has not launched a formal investigation of the matter (Twitter links). Rather, the league is “looking into” the matter, per Levine. Mooney, meanwhile, cites a source close to Russell in reporting that MLB is at a “fact-finding stage.” The exact distinction between a formal investigation and fact-finding is somewhat unclear, though the implication is clearly that the former is more serious than the latter.
3:20pm: Russell has issued a brief statement on the matter via a team press release: “Any allegation I have abused my wife is false and hurtful. For the well-being of my family, I’ll have no further comment.”
In an Instagram post on Wednesday, a friend of Russell’s wife, Melisa, accused Russell of “mentally and physically” abusing Melisa. As a result, the league would like to interview both Melisa Russell and her friend, according to Wittenmyer.
Addison Russell is now the second major leaguer to face domestic abuse allegations this week. Rays catcher Derek Norris’ ex-fiancee accused him of “physical and emotional abuse” in an Instagram post on Tuesday, but Norris quickly refuted that, saying: “I have NEVER been physically or emotionally abusive towards her, or anyone else in my life. I plan to go above and beyond to assist MLB with their investigation into this matter.”
Since the league instituted its current domestic violence policy two years ago, suspensions have been handed out to Aroldis Chapman, Jose Reyes, Hector Olivera and Jeurys Familia. As MLBTR’s Steve Adams noted on Wednesday, each of those players’ situations dealt with singular incidents and came with criminal investigations. The cases of Russell and Norris differ from theirs, but both players are clearly at risk of facing some sort of punishment from the league.