Friday's baseball: Cubs’ Russell says sorry to ex-wife

By Janie Mccauley
Associated Press
Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell addresses the media about his suspension for domestic violence.

Mesa, Ariz. — Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell apologized Friday for the “hurt” and “pain” he caused his ex-wife but didn’t detail what prompted a 40-game suspension under Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy.

“My past behaviors were wrong and unacceptable,” he said.

Russell met with the media Friday for the first time since being suspended last fall, a penalty that he accepted without appeal. Russell spoke for nearly 20 minutes at Cubs camp, ahead of position players joining spring training workouts early next week.

The suspension followed allegations made by ex-wife Melisa Reidy. Russell missed the final 11 regular-season games plus a wild-card playoff loss to Colorado. He will be eligible to return in early May, barring postponements.

“I don’t want to get into any specifics, but what I do want to say is I am accountable for my past actions,” Russell said. “I’m not proud of the person I was, but I do want to own this issue and take responsibility for the hurt and the pain that I’ve caused Melisa, and for that I am sorry.”

The 25-year-old Russell said preparing for this public appearance was difficult, yet also a long time coming for him to “have a voice finally and to speak on what I have been thinking.”

Severino signs $40M deal

Right-hander Luis Severino avoided an arbitration hearing with the New York Yankees, agreeing Friday to a $40-million, four-year contract.

Severino’s deal includes a team option for 2023 that could make the agreement worth $52.25 million for five seasons. If the option is not exercised, Severino would be eligible for free agency after the 2022 season.

Severino gets a $2 million signing bonus, $4 million in 2019, $10 million in 2020, $10.5 million in 2021 and $11 million in 2022. The team option is for $15 million with a $2.75 million buyout.

Cespedes says he’ll return

Ex-Tiger Yoenis Cespedes says he thinks he’ll be able to play at some point this season.

Recovering from surgery on both heels, the New York Mets’ slugger told reporters through a translator at spring training Friday he is finally pain-free. He has been working out and plans to begin throwing next week, but there’s no timetable for when the 33-year-old left fielder will start running or hitting — and he’s not sure when he might return to the lineup.

The team has said Cespedes is expected to be sidelined until at least July. Mets manager Mickey Callaway said this week he hopes Cespedes can contribute “late in the season.”