Cubs notebook: Contreras comfortable, potato chip prescriptions

SHARE Cubs notebook: Contreras comfortable, potato chip prescriptions

Willson Contreras breaks his bat hitting in the 2nd inning against the Texas Rangers at Wrigley Field on Friday. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

If Willson Contreras had his druthers, he would be an everyday major league catcher.

But as part of a Cubs lineup in which positions are interchangeable, Contreras has found himself moving around.

After catching Kyle Hendricks in Friday’s 6-0 win over the Rangers, Contreras was placed in left field for Saturday’s 3-1 win before making the shift back to catcher in the ninth inning.

Much like with Kyle Schwarber last season, manager Joe Maddon has moved his catchers around the field to avoid havig their legs take a beating.

But with Contreras, who is hitting .292 with five home run and 16 RBI in 25 games with the Cubs, changing his routine is also about keeping his bat in the lineup.

“I always said that once I got here (to the major leagues), I came here to play everywhere to help my team,” Contreras said. “If I have to play left field, right field, I will play. It doesn’t matter to me. I just want to play.”

Even on days when he’s not catching, Contreras is still working on the position as well as continuing to develop relationships with Cubs’ pitchers. Before Saturday’s game, Contreras caught a Jake Arietta side session.

Maddon has been pairing Contreras with his starters since spring training. Even with the short time Contreras has been with the Cubs, Maddon has seen the comfort between the rookie and veterans like Arrieta and others grow.

Contreras has as well.

“When I first got here, I felt a little bit uncomfortable because I didn’t know all my pitchers,” he said. “But now, I feel like (it’s better) even though I’ve only been here a month. I hope to be here for a lot of years and help my team win games.”

Getting chippy

Saturday starter Jason Hammel had a relaxing All-Star break when he reconnected with family, hit the beach and play golf. But the biggest revelation may have come from a team doctor who prescribed a unique remedy for the cramps Hammel has been experiencing.

“He said potato chips because they’ve got a lot of potassium and obviously, the sea salt helps retain water,” Hammel said. “So I focused on that and I ate a lot of potato chips. I think it turned out well. So (a) potato chip prescription – or PCP – I think that’s what I’m going to try and go with.”

Scoreboard watching

As much of a game-by-game approach as Maddon takes, he admitted Saturday the come August, he becomes a serious scoreboard watcher. For now, though, there’s not a day that goes by that Maddon doesn’t know exactly where the Cubs stand. He players do too, even though they’ll deny caring about such things.

“Of course they (know),” Maddon said. “How could you not? You got Twitter, everything’s online. We still read newspapers, I promise you. Everybody reads newspapers. There’s so much information out there. How could you avoid knowing that?”

Follow me on Twitter @JeffArnold_.

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