The Cardinals entered Opening Day with elevated expectations thanks to the arrivals of Willson Contreras and Jordan Walker. Optimism has turned to concern about Contreras after he exited St. Louis’ game against the Blue Jays on Thursday.
Contreras signed a five-year, $87.5 million contract with the Cardinals in December after seven seasons with the division-rival Cubs.
A three-time all-star in Chicago, Contreras was brought in to make the transition away from Yadier Molina a seamless one. Any missed time would put a dent in the Cardinals’ lineup and force St. Louis to turn to Andrew Knizner behind the plate.
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Here’s what we know about Contreras’ injury:
Willson Contreras injury update
Contreras exited Thursday’s game after taking a 103 mph pitch from teammate Jordan Hicks to the knee. Hicks is one of the hardest-throwing pitchers in baseball, and Contreras looked like he felt every bit of it.
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Contreras chased the ball after it deflected off his knee, but he appeared hobbled and had a noticeable limp while trainers checked on him afterward. He needed assistance to get back to the dugout, and Knizner entered the game in his place.
Willson Contreras left the game after taking this 102.7 mph Jordan Hicks sinker to the knee. Not great. pic.twitter.com/ZUou4UHXA1
— Brent Maguire (@bmags94) March 30, 2023
The Cardinals later announced Contreras suffered a right knee contusion.
Injury Update: Willson Contreras was removed from the game with a right knee contusion.
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) March 30, 2023
St. Louis lost the game 10-9.
The injury is a tough blow for Contreras even if his removal turns out to be precautionary. He was 2 for 4 in his Cardinals debut and received a loud ovation from the Busch Stadium crowd when he made his first plate appearance.
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Hicks has struggled with control throughout his career. He averaged 5.1 walks per nine innings last season, and he allowed more baserunners than outs in a rough appearance Thursday. Now, one of his pitches might have cost the Cardinals their prized new catcher.