Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras hit the Injured List with a hamstring strain back on August 3, and the initial prognosis had him out for about four to six weeks.
I can’t and won’t say whether that’s an optimistic or pessimistic time frame, but I will note that even the mildest of hamstring strains have guys out for a month+, this was a Grade 2 strain, and, when he strained his same (right) hammy in 2017, he missed one day over a month. So, if Contreras is able to return in six weeks, considering the history and circumstances, that would be just fine.
To that end, it’s pretty great to hear recently from Theo Epstein that Contreras is pain-free, and to see that he’s out on the field this afternoon getting in work:
High-stepping Willson: pic.twitter.com/q0O7eCY0m5
— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) August 21, 2019
Cubs catcher Willson Contreras (10-day IL, hamstring) is doing some drills in the outfield, as you can see from this very professional iphone video taken through my binoculars. pic.twitter.com/I6g0SoK528
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) August 21, 2019
So far, so good, right? I don’t know. He looks pretty good to me.
Six weeks would put a Contreras return right around mid-September, so Contreras still has plenty of time to go from leg drills like this to baseball activity, and stay on schedule. And if he returns closer to the four weeks? Well, as long as he’s totally OK, then swell, of course!
The Cubs were incredibly fortunate that they had one of the best back-ups in baseball in Victor Caratini ready to slide into a bigger role, and then to have very capable back-up Jonathan Lucroy become available in free agency shortly after Contreras’s injury. That greatly reduced the sting of losing Contreras, who’d been one of the Cubs’ best bats this year. Caratini hasn’t been hitting well since the injury (.200/.317/.314, 71 wRC+), but he’s rating as a solid defender this year and a plus framer. Lucroy, meanwhile, has hit .333/.417/.381 (108) through his first seven games with the Cubs. Again, not Contreras, but not killing the Cubs.
All that said … get well soon, Willson. And get well completely so that you can be 100% down the stretch and into the postseason.