Chicago Cubs infielder Addison Russell played Sunday in his first game since being suspended for 40 games last September for violating baseball's domestic abuse policy.
Russell, 25, met with little reaction from the crowd at Scottsdale Stadium when he was introduced before batting in the second inning against the host San Francisco Giants. There were a couple of audible boos but nothing very aggressive. He singled and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in an eight-run inning by the Cubs.
"It felt great, to get the clay underneath my cleats," Russell said after coming out of the game. "Being in the lineup, especially with guys that we won the World Series with. It was a great day. I had a lot of fun."
Russell knows he still might get a less-than-favorable reaction from fans moving forward.
"I'm just trying to prepare myself for when that happens," Russell said. "The crowd today was a pretty nice crowd. A lot of supporting fans today. That made my heart explode as well."
Russell still has to serve the final 28 games of the suspension that was based on multiple allegations of abuse by his ex-wife, Melisa Reidy. Russell continues to receive both league-mandated and private counseling while the Cubs organization is getting enhanced domestic violence prevention training this spring.