When Willson Contreras signaled to get the trainer out last night after jogging to first base on a single, I think we all felt as much tightness in our chests as Contreras was apparently then feeling in his right thigh. He left the game in favor of Tony Wolters, who is your new starting Cubs catcher for however long Contreras is out.
But will he be out for a long time?
Fingers are crossed that things feel good for Contreras this morning.
Here’s how David Ross described the situation immediately after the game, per the Sun-Times: “He’s getting checked by the trainers. He felt a little tightness coming out of the box there [in the fifth inning]. We’ll have to see how it presents tomorrow. But as of right now, just a precaution taking him out of the game.”
It didn’t look all that bad, but it was the fact that Contreras immediately knew he had to duck out of the game that made me nervous:
Here’s the optimistic angle, though. If you start to feel anything at all, this is what you *want* players doing. Feel a little weird tightness somewhere? Duck out, man. He may or may not already be injured, but we do know that playing with something feeling a little off is one of the best ways to CAUSE a more serious injury (either to the affected area, or to somewhere else because you’re compensating). So, maybe Contreras, who missed a couple months a few years ago with a hamstring injury, is just extra ready to pull himself if something feels wrong? That’s what you want to see.
Like I said: optimistic take. I sure hope that’s right, because this team cannot afford to be without Contreras for long. Considering the drop-off behind the plate – especially with Austin Romine already out for a while – Contreras might be the single most irreplaceable player on the roster right now. Behind Wolters, who is a bat-free, defense-only type, the Cubs have P.J. Higgins, Taylor Gushue, and Jose Lobaton set to begin at Triple-A. None are on the 40-man roster at the moment. The only other catcher on the 40-man is prospect Miguel Amaya, slated to begin his season at Double-A, and I don’t expect he’d get a call-up at this point.