In a scary moment in Milwaukee, Cubs shortstop Addison Russell exited the game after he was hit in the face by a pitch from the Brewers’ Adrian Houser. In a post-game update, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports that Russell suffered a nasal bruise on the play and is under evaluation for concussion-like symptoms.
Russell remained on the ground for several minutes after sustaining a fastball to the face. He was tended to by members of the training staff, though he ultimately remained in the game. Immediately after taking first base, he stole second and would later come around to score. However, when the Cubs took the field in the bottom half of the inning, Russell was replaced defensively.
The incident could hardly come at a worse time for the Cubs, who just yesterday received news that Javier Baez could miss the remainder of the season after suffering a hairline fracture in his thumb. Russell, the Cubs’ best shortstop option behind Baez, was set to take over for the injured Cubs star; however, the Cubs may well find themselves down another infield piece should Russell’s injury require a sustained absence.
While Russell is far from the offensive powerhouse that Baez is, he at least represents a capable backup and a defensive difference-maker at the shortstop position. However, if Russell misses time, Chicago will have to dig even deeper for a replacement shortstop. David Bote, who took over for Russell in today’s game, is perhaps the best choice; he’s played sparingly at the position in his two years of big-league experience, though he’s far from a traditional shortstop. Otherwise, it might be too much to ask one of Tony Kemp, Ian Happ, and Robel Garcia to try their hand at the position—all three have experience at the keystone but have never suited up at shortstop.