A seemingly innocuous play in the bottom of the seventh inning Saturday may wind up having huge implications for the 2019 Cubs.
Catcher Willson Contreras lined a ball into the gap to begin the inning, but after a step or two out of the batter's box, came up grabbing his right hamstring and hobbled down the first base line:
Willson Contreras came up limping running out of the batter's box in the 7th inning. Victor Caratini replaced him at catcher in the top of the 8th. pic.twitter.com/k5dQhoA3nP— Cubs Talk (@NBCSCubs) August 3, 2019
Contreras was removed from the game and Victor Caratini — who pinch-hit later in the seventh inning — stayed in to catch.
The Cubs didn't have any concrete information after the 4-1 win regarding Contreras' status moving forward, but he will go for an MRI Monday morning.
"We'll find out the severity at that point or the lack of it," manager Joe Maddon said. "Victor was gonna catch tomorrow anyhow; Darvish is pitching. So we'll just wait and see how it plays out."
Contreras missed a month with a right hamstring injury in August/September 2017.
After that seventh-inning liner was caught, Contreras walked gingerly off the field and threw his batting gloves into the dugout in frustration. That led to even more emotion before he headed into the Cubs clubhouse with trainer P.J. Mainville:
Contreras extremely upset in the dugout, frustration turned to tears as he headed into the clubhouse w/Cubs trainer PJ Mainville. Such a tough thing to see... https://t.co/fweQp9MufX— Kelly Crull (@Kelly_Crull) August 3, 2019
Contreras, 27, is in the midst of a career season with 19 homers, 57 RBI and an .890 OPS.
The Cubs just traded away veteran catcher Martin Maldonado at the deadline three days ago and the only other backstop besides Caratini currently on the 40-man roster is Taylor Davis.
However, the Cubs do have an emergency catcher on the roster in Kyle Schwarber, who came up as a catcher and has played 25 games behind the dish in the big leagues.
"It's always a tough blow when you lose a catcher like him, especially the type of hitter he is," Cole Hamels said. "He's an All-Star. You don't find them out there [on] the waiver wire and you don't find them as free agents right now.
"We just have to take care of it. I know Caratini's gonna get the bulk of it, but he's been playing well. It's just a matter of seeing what we can do with the options that we have."