TORONTO – Catcher Willson Contreras was out of the Cubs’ lineup on Wednesday, after leaving the game Tuesday with soreness in his left ankle/foot. He had a limp as he was walking around before the game.
“The main thing is just listening to him,” manager David Ross said. “He wants to be out there. I don’t think the trainers feel like it’s anything that’s at risk. But you also take into consideration, moving on this turf is sometimes a little bit harder on the joints, and especially we have some ailment that might pop up.”
Contreras said he hoped the off day Thursday would help him rest the ankle. From there, the Cubs will gauge his readiness day to day. If Contreras needs more time out, the Cubs have two back-ups on the roster: Yan Gomes and P.J. Higgins.
“We’re going to look out for him, and his career and long-term health,” Ross said, “but also, he’s a baseball player who likes to play baseball. So, I’ll try to balance as best I can with conversations.”
Running bothers Contreras’ injury – which he’s felt to varying degrees since rolling his ankle in the Field of Dreams game three weeks ago – the most. He’s been catching with a knee down to ease the pressure on his left side.
“But at some point, you have to just take it easy,” he said, “and don’t hurt the team, don’t hurt yourself, and do what’s best for the team.”
Off days on either side of the Cubs’ series at St. Louis this weekend have given them the flexibility to shuffle their rotation. Adrian Sampson, Drew Smyly and Marcus Stroman are scheduled to start against the Cardinals in that order.
Justin Steele’s next start moves to Tuesday, when the Cubs return to Wrigley Field to face the Reds. That will give Steele 10 days between starts, after leaving his last start with back tightness and landing on the restricted list for the Cubs’ series in Toronto. The Cubs are monitoring Steele’s workload as the season winds down.
“The guys that have had [fewer] innings this year,” Ross said, “we’ve pushed them up to St. Louis.”