Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell apologized for his actions that led a 40-game domestic violence suspension, as he fielded questions on Friday for the first time since being suspended in September.
Russell was disciplined after now ex-wife Melisa Reidy detailed domestic abuse allegations against him in a blog post, claiming he had abused her during their 2 1/2-year marriage.
“I know there’s been a lot that’s been said and reported these few months,” Russell said during a press conference at spring training in Mesa, Ariz. “I don’t want to get into any specifics, but what I do want to say is, I am accountable for my past actions. I’m not proud of the person I was. But I do wanna own this issue and take responsibility for the hurt and the pain I have caused Melisa. And for that, I am sorry.”
During a 20-minute session, Russell didn’t deny the allegations made against him. He initially expressed his innocence last September prior to being suspended for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic abuse policies.
The 25-year-old Russell said he has become a better person since the end of last season.
“These past few months have been a productive few months,” Russell said. “I’ve been doing the league-mandated treatment, and also participating in voluntary counseling as well.
“Through that counseling, I have learned to better identify my feelings and emotions, learning how to handle adversity and challenges whenever I’m faced with them.”
Russell was placed on administrative leave on Sept. 21 and later received the 40-game ban. The Cubs decided in the offseason to give him another opportunity and signed him to a one-year, $3.4 million contract.
He will miss the first 28 games of this season to finish serving the suspension. And Russell is quite aware he needs to redeem himself.
“I know that I’m still early in this process, and through this process, I realize that I have let a lot of people down,” Russell said. “I’ve let Cubs fans down, my organization, my teammates, my family and also myself. I’m doing everything in my power to become a better person, father, teammate, partner and provider.”
Chicago manager Joe Maddon watched Russell’s press conference from the back of the room.
“It’s one step at a time,” Maddon said. “Everything’s a process, and today begins that process (with the press conference).
“We’re working our way through this, too. It’s kind of new ground for us, too. … It’s not even about baseball right now.”
Russell has a .242 career average with 51 homers and 230 RBIs in 533 career games. He was an All-Star in 2016 when he established career highs of 21 homers and 95 RBIs.
—Field Level Media