Sport

Cubs shortstop ‘accountable’ and ‘sorry’ for past actions

MESA, Ariz. – There were no signs of emotion. The responses were careful and methodical.

Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell answered questions for 19 minutes Friday afternoon, speaking publicly for the first time since he was suspended 40 games in October for violating Major League Baseball’s Domestic Violence program.

He apologized for his actions without being specific. He thanked the Cubs for giving him a second chance and his teammates for his support. And he asked for forgiveness from his ex-wife, Melisa Reidy.

“I’m accountable for my past actions,’’ said Russell, who spoke in front of about 30 reporters and camera crews. “I do want to own this issue of the hurt and pain I have caused Melisa.

“I’m truly sorry.’’

Russell, who’s permitted to train and play in spring training games with the Cubs, is ineligible to play in regular season games until May 3.

He deflected several questions pertaining to baseball. He instead wanted to focus on the help he has sought.

“I had time to reflect, through counseling,’’ Russell said. “I have a better understanding what domestic abuse really is.

“I truly believe that I’m not proud of the person I once was, but through counseling, I’m able to identify my feelings a lot better. I believe that person is in the past. …

“I’m committed to my work right now, and already I’m seeing the benefits that come with that, to my family and my children.

Russell, who has two children, says he’s in a healthy, happy relationship now with his girlfriend, who’s pregnant. He says he believes he’ll become a better man with his weekly counseling, saying that he started to realize last September that he needed help.

“I’ve learned to better identify my feelings and emotions,’’ he said. “I’ve learned better to handle adversity, and creating better, healthy relationships.’’

Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Bob Nightengale on Twitter: @Bnightengale

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