Maddon On Russell's Struggles: 'In Player's Hands'

"The player has to be responsible for his own actions too," Joe Maddon says.

Bernstein & McKnight Show
July 23, 2019 - 1:12 pm
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(670 The Score) As Cubs infielder Addison Russell continues to make too many mental mistakes and perform poorly, manager Joe Maddon again threw down the gauntlet in a straightforward manner Tuesday.

"Honestly, it's really in the player's hands at this point," Maddon said on the Bernstein & McKnight Show on 670 The Score. "He's been here for several years, and I assure you the conversations have been there constantly. We've worked through this in the past and at some point it's up to the players to make this adjustment too."

In the Cubs' 6-5 win against the Padres on Sunday, Russell was thrown out on the bases twice, lost a pop-up in the sun and let another pop-up drop between him and outfielder Albert Almora Jr. Russell also recently admitted to reporters that he doesn't fully understand the team's signs, another example of a mental mistake that the Cubs don't find acceptable.

Russell is also struggling at the plate, hitting .248 with six homers, 16 RBIs and a .738 OPS in 54 games. He missed the first month of the season as he finished serving a 40-game suspension for violating the league's joint domestic violence policy.

From the sounds of it, Maddon doesn't envision a big role for Russell down the stretch.

"The conversations between he and I and also infield coaches and baserunning coaches, we've had these conversations," Maddon said. "We just need to get Addy to, it's more of a how do you go through the permutations mentally before the play occurs? How do you visualize in advance? That's what I'm really, really after is to get him to the point where he sees things before they occur, which would equal focus. That's where we're at.

"He's so talented. He's really a great athlete, people have no idea. But from the beginning, he's had issues on the bases. And so from the time I've known him, we've really been into it a lot from that perspective.

"Some guys just have a hard time with that (baserunning). The conversation has to continue, but in a lot of these situations -- and sometimes it's not necessarily reported in this way -- but the player has to be responsible for his own actions too."

Russell will sit out for the third straight game when the Cubs play at the Giants on Tuesday evening, Maddon said. Robel Garcia has had a hot bat, and the Cubs will ride him for now.

"In situations where they're struggling like this, I like to give them a couple, three days off so they can think it through all the way, slow things down a bit, maybe come back and regroup," Maddon said.