TORONTO — Catcher Willson Contreras was out of the Cubs’ lineup on Wednesday after leaving the game Tuesday with soreness in his left ankle/foot. He had a limp as he was walking around before the game.
“The main thing is just listening to him,” manager David Ross said before the Cubs’ 7-5 win against the Blue Jays. “He wants to be out there. I don’t think the trainers feel like it’s anything that’s at risk. But you also take into consideration, moving on this turf is sometimes a little bit harder on the joints, and especially when we have some ailment that might pop up.”
Contreras said he hoped the off day Thursday would help him rest the ankle. From there, the Cubs will gauge his readiness day to day. If Contreras needs more time off, the Cubs have two backups on the roster: Yan Gomes and P.J. Higgins.
“We’re going to look out for him, and his career and long-term health,” Ross said, “but also, he’s a baseball player who likes to play baseball. So, I’ll try to balance as best I can with conversations.”
Running bothers Contreras’ injury —which he has felt to varying degrees since rolling his ankle in the “Field of Dreams” game three weeks ago — the most. He’s been catching with a knee down to ease the pressure on his left side.
“But at some point, you have to just take it easy,” he said, “and don’t hurt the team, don’t hurt yourself, and do what’s best for the team.”
The Cubs are set to wrap up the 2023 Cactus League schedule with back-to-back games against the White Sox, before opening the regular season at home against the Brewers on March 30.
Major League Baseball announced next year’s tentative spring-training schedule on Wednesday, including a set of games featuring World Baseball Classic teams.
The Cubs are set to face a WBC team at Sloan Park on March 8, but their exact opponent has yet to be announced.
The Cubs open spring training at Sloan Park on Feb. 25 against the Giants. Their 33 games on the schedule include 18 home games and 15 road games.
They’re scheduled to face their crosstown rival four times, including one half of a split-squad game on March 17 in Glendale. The Cubs host the other three games against the White Sox on March 10, 27 and 28.
Canadian reliever Rowan Wick made his first major-league appearance in his home country Wednesday, and he recorded a save.
“I’m super happy for Wick,” Ross said. “I know this was important to him, pitching here.”
Off days on either side of the Cubs’ series at St. Louis this weekend have given them the flexibility to shuffle their rotation. Adrian Sampson, Drew Smyly and Marcus Stroman are scheduled to start against the Cardinals in that order.
Justin Steele’s next start moves to Tuesday, when the Cubs return to Wrigley Field to face the Reds. That will give Steele 10 days between starts, after leaving his last start with back tightness and landing on the restricted list for the Cubs’ series in Toronto. The Cubs are monitoring Steele’s workload as the season winds down.
“The guys that have had [fewer] innings this year,” Ross said, “we’ve pushed them up to St. Louis.”