Willson Contreras has been out since August 3 with a grade 2 hamstring strain that was expected to keep him out for nearly a month, but all indications are that he’s nearing a return. It was announced prior to Friday’s Players’ Weekend opener that the catcher would travel with the Cubs when they head to New York for three games against the Mets, which could be significant.
Cubs catcher Willson Contreras will travel with the team to New York for the series against the Mets after this homestand. If he continues to progress well, should be able to ramp up baseball activities there.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) August 23, 2019
MLB.com beat writer Jordan Bastian tweeted that Contreras “should be able to ramp up baseball activities” in New York if he continues to progress over the weekend. That’s at least notable because the set against the Mets represents the entirety of the upcoming road trip, so a player who still had a ways to go in his rehab might otherwise stay behind.
That Contreras is going to fly out and dial up the intensity of his workouts under the watchful eyes of Joe Maddon and the training staff seems like a clear sign that he’s close to being ready to come back. He should be getting close anyway, since the initial four-week prognosis would have him out until the end of the month.
Even if he is ready to go in the next few days, it’s highly unlikely that he’ll be activated for any of those Mets games, nor for the first two games against the Brewers back at Wrigley. That’s because the Cubs can simply wait until next Sunday when rosters expand, thus giving Contreras a little additional rest while saving the team from making a personnel move.