Cubs activate Contreras, option Russell

July 24th, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO -- Hoping to revitalize 's all-around game, the Cubs optioned the 25-year-old infielder to Triple-A Iowa on Wednesday.

Russell's statistics actually did not slip appreciably. He compiled a slash line of .247/.329/.404, comparable to his career figures of .242/.313/.392 entering the season. But his stagnant performance prompted the Cubs to demote him to clear roster room for catcher , who was reinstated from the injured list.

Russell was a National League All-Star in 2016, when he established career highs of 21 homers and 95 RBIs in 151 games.

"This is good for him," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "We need to get him back to the player that he had been. He just hasn't been able to recapture that form. ... He was so important to what we did several years ago. We believe he could do that again for us. But under these conditions, playing sporadically, it wasn't going to happen."

Maddon said he had a productive conversation with Russell upon informing him of his Triple-A refresher course.

"I think he saw that this was the right thing to do," Maddon said.

Russell already has experienced a pair of stints with Iowa. He played six games with that club from April 24-29 before being optioned to Triple-A on May 2 following the conclusion of his 40-game suspension for violating the Majors' Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy.