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After big hit, Russell ready for Wrigley debut

CINCINNATI -- Addison Russell will finally get to play at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs' No. 2 ranked prospect will make his home debut Monday night, and he arrives feeling a little better after hitting a key three-run double in Sunday's 5-2 win over the Reds.

Russell had 11 strikeouts in his first 19 at-bats but delivered in the fourth with the bases loaded and one out when he lined a double into the gap in right-center. The infielder was promoted from Triple-A last Tuesday when the Cubs were in Pittsburgh.

"It's just a stepping stone," Russell said of his hit. "I need to capitalize on that and bring it to the next game."

That next game will be his first as a Major Leaguer with his parents and fiance present. They're going to be in Chicago for the game against the Pirates.

"I'm excited to be in that atmosphere," Russell said. "I'm pretty excited to get there."

Cubs manager Joe Maddon has preached the need to be patient with Russell, who is the youngest active player in the National League at 21.

"He's going to keep coming on offensively," Maddon said. "Defensively, he'll get more used to playing where he's supposed to be [at second], and that's when you'll see even better play at second base."

Russell was promoted because of a need at second base, but he's played shortstop nearly all of his career. That's been a somewhat easy transition compared to dealing with Major League pitching.

"I felt I saw the ball a little better today and fouled off some good pitches to keep me in the count," Russell said. "Then [Anthony DeSclafani] gave me a fastball outside and I didn't try to do too much and just tried to hit it and got a double out of it."

It will take some time.

"I'm just understanding the whole process," Russell said. "It may be overnight, it may take a few games, it may take a few at-bats. I'm trying to stay patient and stay with my approach and just believe in my talent."

His teammates believe.

"They're ahead of the curve -- Jorge Soler, Kris Bryant, Russell," Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta said. "These guys are polished to the extent where they can come and contribute right away."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.
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