Cubs’ Willson Contreras fighting to return, running out of season

MIAMI – Cubs catcher Willson Contreras still has hurdles to clear before returning from a lingering left ankle sprain.

“You see the end in sight, and some personalities are like, ‘What’s the point of rushing back?’ and some personalities are like, ‘I’m pissed I’m hurt. I want to finish; I enjoy playing baseball,'” manager David Ross said before the Cubs’ 10-3 loss to the Marlins. “And I think Willson falls in that second category of, ‘I’m trying to get back. But also, I can only do so much with my ankle.'”

Ross said in running drills Sunday, Contreras felt fine moving in straight lines, but curves were “a little bit more challenging.”

Don’t just take Ross’ word when it comes to Contreras’ desire to stay on the field. He played through his ankle injury for weeks before landing on the injured list early this month. He initially rolled his ankle during the ‘Field of Dreams’ game on Aug. 11.

Contreras is also in a contract year, with just over two weeks left in the season to affect his market. Health will be a consideration for potential suitors in free agency for the 30-year-old catcher.

Second baseman Nick Madrigal (right groin strain) also has been going through a running and agility program.

Marlins mash Miley

Cubs lefty Wade Miley allowed seven runs in three-plus innings against the Marlins, in his third start back from the 60-day IL (left shoulder soreness).

“Just didn’t execute pitches,” Miley said. “Just couldn’t get the ball in glove-side at all, was fighting that the whole time. And then, they made an adjustment and gave up on that pitch and started diving out over [the plate]. I didn’t have any way to combat it.”

The Marlins did most of their damage against Miley on Bryan De La Cruz’s third-inning grand slam. Because of shortstop Christopher Morel’s throwing error earlier in the frame, those four runs were unearned.

Brault headed for rehab assignment

Cubs lefty Steven Brault (strained left shoulder) is scheduled to start a rehab assignment with Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday. Brault has been limited to nine major-league outings so far this season by a series of IL stints.

He signed a minor-league deal with the Cubs this spring after his physical revealed a triceps injury. The team called him up from Triple-A in July, but the next month, he spent two weeks on the COVID-19 related IL. He landed back in the IL with a shoulder injury in late August.

Hoerner taking grounders

Cubs shortstop Nico Hoerner has so far avoided the IL, after straining his right triceps about a week ago. Continuing baseball activities, Hoerner fielded ground balls before the Cubs’ blowout loss Monday.

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