Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell has been placed on administrative leave following new allegations of domestic violence by his ex-wife.
Last year, Melisa Reidy posted a photo on her Instagram account with a caption suggesting her husband of about 18 months had been unfaithful to her. In another post, a user — described by Melisa as a close friend — made the accusation that Russell had “hit” his wife. The post was later deleted. Russell denied the allegation and the two were soon divorced.
Late Thursday, a blog post attributed to Reidy contained more detailed allegations, including years of physical and emotional abuse. Less than 12 hours later, Major League Baseball announced Russell’s leave Friday in accordance with the MLB-MLB Players Assn. domestic violence policy. The Cubs said the leave is for seven days, but could be extended.
“When the allegations against Addison Russell became public on June 7, 2017, the Commissioner’s Office’s Department of Investigations immediately commenced an investigation,” the league said. “Melisa Russell declined to participate in the investigation at that time. Our investigation of this matter has remained open and we have continued our efforts to gather information. We are hopeful that this new information will allow us to complete the investigation as promptly as possible.”
Last year, Reidy’s attorney, Thomas Field, said she had decided not to talk with MLB because it was not in the best interest of her family. Field did not return messages Friday and no listed number for Reidy, who is believed to live in Pensacola, Fla., could be located.
Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the department has not launched a criminal investigation “at this point,” but detectives will look at the allegations “further and have already reached out to the Cubs.”
The Cubs hold a slim lead atop the National League Central and the leave was announced just a few hours before a game against the crosstown rival White Sox.
While refusing to speculate on specifics or Russell’s future with the team, Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and owner Tom Ricketts said the team will cooperate with the investigation but are prohibited from taking their own steps under MLB’s domestic abuse policy.
Epstein said the infielder stood by his claim that he had not physically abused Reidy.
Epstein and Ricketts said they agreed with MLB’s decision to place the 24-year-old infielder on leave and informed of the move Friday morning.
“It would have sent the wrong message to have Addison wearing a Chicago Cubs uniform this morning,” Epstein said.
“Obviously, we take it very, very seriously,” added Ricketts. “The place it’s at right now, it’s in the league’s court to do the investigation.”
Manager Joe Maddon said he was surprised by the new accusations.
“I have not yet spoken to Addy about it,” Maddon said. “From our perspective, it seemed like it was done, but apparently it’s not.”
Russell is a stalwart for the team, playing in 130 games so far this season and batting .250 with 38 RBIs. He is batting only .158 with one RBI in 18 games in September. Maddon said Russell was playing well defensively, but wouldn’t speculate whether off-field issues were affecting him at the plate.
2:05 p.m.: This article was updated with additional information throughout.
This article was originally published at 11:25 a.m.