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Cubs’ Willson Contreras returns with a bang from his week off with the flu

Willson Contreras returned to the lineup after a week off with the flu and ripped a homer. (AP/Carlos Osorio)

Padres 7, Cubs (SS) 5

Cubs (SS) 2, Giants 1

Flu? What flu?

That was catcher Willson Contreras — in his first game back after missing a week due to illness — laying into a Jordan Lyles pitch for a two-run homer to center in the Cubs’ four-run third inning against the Padres in Peoria. It was the second homer of the spring for a player batting .353 and eying what he hopes will be his first All-Star season.


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“He looked good behind the plate, too,” said manager Joe Maddon, who watched the game on TV back in Mesa. “He tried his pickoffs at third, second and first. He had a great at-bat. He hit it, put his head down — he knew it was gone.To have that much time off and be that on, not everybody can do that.”

Two walks and a long fly

Third baseman Kris Bryant continues to see the ball well. He drew his fifth and sixth walks of the spring against the Padres — a fine-looking total compared with his seven strikeouts.

Shortstop Addison Russell led off the fourth inning against Giants ace Madison Bumgarner with his first home run of the spring. Russell added an infield hit and his batting .364.

Don’t even try it

The Giants’ Austin Jackson was caught attempting to steal home off Cubs starter Tyler Chatwood in the fifth inning. With Kelby Tomlinson batting, Hunter Pence broke for second, drawing a throw from catcher Victor Caratini to Russell, who fired home in time to nail a sliding Jackson. Caratini was banged up on the play but stayed in the game.

On deck

Cubs at Royals, Surprise, Alec Mills vs. Ian Kennedy, 3:05 p.m., Wednesday, audio.

Follow me on Twitter @slgreenberg.