MLB investigating Cubs’ Addison Russell after domestic violence claim surfaces on Instagram

Addison Russell’s investigation appears to have been prompted by an Instagram commenter. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

For the second time in as many days, MLB announced it will investigate an accusation of domestic violence against a player. In the latest incident, the league told ESPN on Thursday it will look into a case involving Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell, who was noticeably absent during the team’s 6-5 loss to the Miami Marlins on Wednesday.

The exact nature of the allegations remain unknown, however, they have to do with Russell’s wife Melisa, who published then deleted a strangely timed Instagram post on Wednesday hinting there were problems in her marriage. The allegations came from a comment on the now-deleted post from someone who claimed to be a close friend of Russell’s wife, that accused the player of physically abusing Melisa, ESPN reports.

The Instagram post showed up on Wednesday night, and depicted Melisa Russell in a bathing suit in a body of water. The caption read: “Being free to be able to make your own choices for your own happiness beats being cheated on, lied to, disrespected any day. #herestonewbeginnings #onlygetsbetterfromhere”

The comment, which vanished when the post was deleted, came from an Instagram user named CarlieReed. She wrote (via the Chicago Sun-Times): “Hateful is cheating on your wife, mentally physically abusing her. Melisa didn’t want that out but I’ll say it. He hit her. In front of Aiden Mila,” she wrote, referring to the couple’s children.

A Cubs official told the Sun-Times the team would also be investigating the allegations. Russell released a statement through the Cubs on Thursday afternoon, denying the allegations and calling them “false and hurtful.”

MLB launched the investigation against Russell a day after the league said it was investigating Tampa Bay Rays catcher Derek Norris, who was accused by his former fiancee Kristen Eck on Instagram of physical and mental abuse.

Eck’s post, in which she describes her relationship with Norris as “darkness,” is still online.

Addressing the accusations, Norris declared, “The comments made by my ex-fiancee could not be further from the truth.”

He added: “I have NEVER been physically or emotionally abusive towards her, or anyone else in my life. I plan to go above and beyond to assist MLB with their investigation into this matter.”

Both investigations come nearly two years after the league and the players union installed a stricter domestic violence policy, which calls for longer and harsher punishments if investigators find substance in the allegations. Shortly after the new policy was adopted in 2015, former Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman, currently of the New York Yankees, was suspended 30 games over allegations that he abused his girlfriend.

It’s unclear when MLB plans to announce its findings in either investigation.

Russell, 23, came to the Cubs in 2015, while Norris, 28, signed with the Rays earlier this spring after being released by the Washington Nationals. He previously played for Oakland Athletics and San Diego Padres.