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Russell full-steam ahead with '18 goals in mind

Cubs shortstop focused on health for upcoming season
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

CHICAGO -- Addison Russell will celebrate his 24th birthday on Tuesday, and the Cubs' shortstop has big plans for the upcoming year.

"My individual goals are to remain healthy the whole season. Maybe an All-Star Game would be nice," Russell said in an interview with the Cubs' social media crew. "Staying healthy. I think everything else will handle itself."

CHICAGO -- Addison Russell will celebrate his 24th birthday on Tuesday, and the Cubs' shortstop has big plans for the upcoming year.

"My individual goals are to remain healthy the whole season. Maybe an All-Star Game would be nice," Russell said in an interview with the Cubs' social media crew. "Staying healthy. I think everything else will handle itself."

Last year, Russell was limited to 110 games because of a nagging right foot injury. He was sidelined Aug. 3 and in his first game back on Sept. 16 against the Cardinals, Russell made the most of it. He led off the eighth inning with a 437-foot home run to help secure a 4-1 win.

Video: STL@CHC: Statcast™ measures Russell's 437-foot homer

"It was a pretty special moment in my life," Russell said after the game. "Walking up to the plate, I couldn't help but smile inside. I felt like it was pretty fun."

Russell looks healthy as he runs in his hometown of Pensacola, Fla. He starts running and hitting at the start of December to prepare for the upcoming season.

"I like to get out on the beach and run," Russell said in an interview during the Cubs Convention. "I like running by the water and seeing all the sights my hometown has to offer on Pensacola Beach. I just put on my earphones and get lost. I love running, I love exercising, all that good stuff."

The Pensacola tourism folks will be happy about the video as well. Russell is seen making a sandcastle and collecting shells on the beach with his daughter.

"When I'm back home, I like to make sure I see my family and lay low," Russell said. "I love spending time with my family out here, especially on the beach; taking them out to the water. I love fishing, I love what the beach has to offer: the sand, the waves and the great Florida sunshine."

Russell also hopes the focus will be on baseball this year. In an Instagram post in December, Russell looked ahead to 2018, saying, "Absolutely no ceilings. No noise. New heights."

Video: NLCS Gm3: Russell makes a fine backpedaling catch

"I think I'm at a point in my life where I have a pretty good opportunity to reach the goals I want to reach without any distractions," Russell said at the convention. "I'm going to use that and take full advantage of that. I have a good, upbeat, positive feel about the year, and that's what I'm looking forward to."

He's picked up that same vibe with his Cubs teammates.

"It seems the guys are taking full advantage of this offseason," Russell said. "I feel the team itself will be ready coming into Spring Training, ready to hopefully win a World Series. That's the big picture."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs, Addison Russell