It's been a while since Addison Russell has been on the field. Too long, in fact, if you ask the top prospect in the organization. He has been looking forward to getting back on the field, in a game situation and helping his team win since he was put on the DL early in the season with a hamstring strain.
Each time I talked with him at Papago, his drive to be back on the field was obvious. But he was also aware that he had to take his time; not to rush anything before its time, so that his body could heal properly. This is not an easy task for anyone, let alone for the competitors – young, professional athletes. However, Russell is mature beyond his years.
Today, against the Chicago Cubs, the A's top pick from the 2012 draft got back on the field seven weeks since his last game with the Midland RockHounds. Russell returned to where it all began for him as a professional, almost exactly two years ago: playing shortstop at Field #2, at Papago Sports Complex.
Russell played four innings at short, and had two plate appearances. Defensively, he was smooth and moved with ease. Offensively, the first at-bat resulted in a line drive straight to the third baseman; the second at-bat was a seven-pitch strike out. From the eye-test, he looked good. He looked like the Addison Russell we all know.
I talked with him as he headed back to the clubhouse: he was in good spirits, feeling strong, and most importantly, free-of-pain. And boy, is he ready to get back to helping his team win! The return is in process, and when the time is right, Russell will leave Arizona en route to his full return.
After the game, Oakland A's assistant general manager David Forst issued a statement that Russell "will continue in Arizona with a progression as laid out by the medical staff. We won't have any other updates on his progress or expected return to action until he is ready to leave the extended program and join a full season club."