Chicago Cubs will be ‘very precautious’ with Willson Contreras, who is day-to-day with left hamstring tightness – The Denver Post


Lower-body injuries have bothered Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras at times during his career.

He was proactive in late May in coming out of a game when right hamstring tightness was bothering him. Although he missed three games, Contreras avoided the injured list.

Contreras is in a similar situation: day-to-day with left hamstring tightness after exiting Monday’s loss in the 10th inning. He felt a little better Tuesday and was not as sore, manager David Ross said. Contreras received pregame treatment on his hamstring and was seen riding an exercise bike outside the Cubs clubhouse Tuesday afternoon.

Ross wanted to see how Contreras got through “some stuff” before determining whether he would be available off the bench against the Milwaukee Brewers.

“Very precautious,” Ross said. “It was smart on his behalf (to come out of the game).”

Contreras clearly listens to his body, and the Cubs don’t want to push him and risk a more serious injury. Trade-deadline implications aside, Contreras has been the Cubs’ most valuable player and they can’t afford to lose him for an extended stretch.

Marcus Stroman, Drew Smyly nearing returns

The Cubs still are formulating the returns of starting pitchers Marcus Stroman and Drew Smyly.

Stroman (right shoulder inflammation) made a rehab start Sunday for Triple-A Iowa, and Smyly (right oblique strain) made one Monday for High A South Bend.

Ross indicated he planned to meet with both pitchers Tuesday to map out their next steps. Stroman previously told reporters he felt he would need only one rehab start.

Whether either pitcher needs another rehab start before coming off the IL has not been decided, Ross said.

“I view them as really similar,” Ross said of their potential readiness.

The Cubs can shift around the rotation after their upcoming four-game series in Los Angeles thanks to a day off Monday. They might need a fill-in start for left-hander Justin Steele, who shared on social media during spring training that he and his fiancée are expecting the birth of their first child this month.

Right-hander Adrian Sampson has been a solid addition to the rotation, while Mark Leiter Jr. pitched well Saturday in relief of Alec Mills, who exited with a back injury seven pitches into his start and was placed on the IL on Sunday.

Milestone for Nelson Velázquez

Nelson Velázquez had a message for Steele in the dugout after hitting his first big-league home run Monday.

“I did it for you too,” Velázquez told Steele.

Steele had been frequently telling Velázquez he was waiting to see the rookie outfielder hit his first homer. Velázquez delivered in his 14th MLB game, homering to left field in the second inning — to provide run support for Steele.

Velázquez’s milestone baseball was returned to him, and the Puerto Rican native plans to give it to his parents so they can put it in the family home.

Velázquez’s opportunities have been limited since he was recalled June 20, used mainly off the bench and for spot starts during the last two-plus weeks. His defense, particularly his arm, and baseball IQ have stood out. He nearly threw out a runner at third Tuesday night after the runner tagged up on a flyout.

“The guy’s got a hose,” Ross said. “I didn’t get to see him much in spring and I didn’t know what kind of outfielder he really was, to be honest, and he’s made a good impression. He’s made some plays going back on balls and plays over toward the line. Moves well.”



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