Russell makes diving stop to throw out speedster Hamilton
Rookie infielder also turns double play in fourth big league game
CINCINNATI -- Cubs infielder Addison Russell may have only been playing his fourth big league game, but he was well aware of how fast the Reds' Billy Hamilton is.
Hamilton was 2-for-2 with three stolen bases in his first two at-bats Friday against the Cubs, and he led off the fifth with a grounder toward right-center. Russell dove to his right, snared the ball, and got to his feet in time to throw Hamilton out at first.
"I knew off the bat that I had a chance to get that ball, and I got to it, and I also knew who was running and I had to spit it out pretty quick," Russell said after the Cubs' 7-3 win in 11 innings.
The Cubs' No. 2 prospect, Russell had played strictly at shortstop, but he has been asked to make the switch to second because of injuries. He turned a double play in the eighth inning as well.
However, the Reds' Mike Leake fooled Russell with some nasty two-seamers, and the rookie went 0-for-5 in the game, striking out four times.
"I'm seeing the ball fine," Russell said. "They had a few guys who were throwing back-door sinkers, and that's something I haven't seen much of. My approach was fine. I just have to be a little more aggressive when I see the outside fastball. At the end of the game [in the 11th inning], that's the ball I hit to the outfield."
Russell played just 11 games at the Triple-A level before he was called up. The youngest player in the National League at 21, he's still learning.
"These are the adjustments I'm going to have to make day to day as I get more familiar with the pitchers," he said. "I haven't faced big league pitching before, obviously, but it's something I have to watch film on and take notes on."