CHICAGO -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon continued to alternate shortstops on Wednesday, starting Javier Baez over Addison Russell in the series finale against the Marlins. But as far as Maddon is concerned, Russell is still the starter."The one thing Addison has, and does well, is he does routine routinely," Maddon said.
CHICAGO -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon continued to alternate shortstops on Wednesday, starting Javier Baez over Addison Russell in the series finale against the Marlins. But as far as Maddon is concerned, Russell is still the starter.
"The one thing Addison has, and does well, is he does routine routinely," Maddon said. "He doesn't make any mistakes, which I really appreciate about him. Javy has all the flare in the world. When it comes down to nuts and bolts -- I talked about that the first time I saw Addison in Spring Training. I asked him, 'Who taught you?' Because his mechanics are so good."
But Russell's throws have been off target a little, and he was batting .140 in his last 32 games entering Wednesday. That's a long way from the All-Star numbers he put up last season.
"As long as he's healthy and well, he'll look like that again," Maddon said. "I saw it way too much over the last two years. He has not played up to his standards at this point, but I have a lot of faith in this guy, because his mechanics and fundamentals are that good."
What's the problem?
"I think it's just coming off last season, it's the start of this year," Maddon said. "He's not gotten into a very good rhythm yet at the plate, or on the field."
Perhaps Russell needs to play every day, rather than sit, so he can get into that rhythm? Maddon says not, and he's taking advantage of Baez's talents to give Russell a chance to develop.
"The thing I've been watching is that by doing what we're doing, we're affording him more extra work with the coaches," Maddon said. "My perspective was that he needed more time with the coaches, where they're talking about little things fundamentally with his feet, and his throwing and making sure he's throwing through the ball.
"By doing this, I'm thinking the better thing right now is more work in between starts, as opposed to trying to push through it. Without Javy, he would be pushing through it."
• The Cubs have two picks in the first round of Monday's Draft, but Maddon is deferring to the scouts and not getting involved. He does appreciate the emphasis on quality people, not just top talent.
"The combination of the player and the person here is kind of uniquely well done," Maddon said. "I anticipate it will continue to be that way. It's been really fun to watch."
The Cubs currently have first-round Draft picks Ian Happ, Kyle Schwarber, Kristopher Bryant, Albert Almora Jr. and Baez on the 25-man roster.
• Mark your calendars: The Cubs announced starting times for two games that were listed as "to be determined." The Cubs' Aug. 6 game against the Nationals and Sept. 3 contest against the Braves will both start at 1:20 p.m. CT at Wrigley Field.
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.