Wilson Contreras didn’t lose the job of catcher for long.
St. Louis Cardinals Dominican manager Oliver Marmol indicated ahead of Saturday’s game against Boston that the 31-year-old Venezuelan would return behind the plate on Monday when the team begins a series at home against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Seeking a replacement for Yadier Molina behind the plate, St. Louis signed three-time All-Star Contreras to a five-year, $87.5 million deal in December. It was the biggest deal the club agreed to during the pre-season break.
“We talked about it last night and I told him I’m open to coming back as a catcher,” Contreras said after a 4-3 win over the Red Sox on Saturday.
He said, “I’m not going to just be a designated hitter, because it’s really hard to just be a designated hitter when I can be behind the plate.” “I was ready to come back as a catcher.”
Contreras indicated that Marmol approached her and asked her if she was ready.
“I don’t know whether I acted differently or not, he noticed something in my body language and he went straight to the point and told me; ‘Are you ready to come back as a catcher?’ And I said yes,” Contreras added.
But last weekend Marmol said Contreras would take a break on the position for now — a decision that raised questions about whether the free-agent acquisition was the right one.
The departure of nine-time Gold Glove winner Molina, who retired after 19 seasons with the Cardinals, will weigh heavily on a team that has a losing record.
Contreras will take the catch in front of right-hander Jack Flaherty on Monday. The last time he was the starting catcher was on May 4 under Flaherty, allowing 10 runs in 2 1/3 innings. Contreras started the next day as a defensive replacement.
“It’s what they wanted,” Marmol said.
Now they’ll be back together – and Contreras will have a chance to fulfill Card’s fantasy before the season ends.
Contreras has been a designated hitter in this time. He had a .263 batting average with three homers and 18 RBI going into the second game of a three-game series against Boston.