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Published on June 21, 2024
Cardinals' Catcher Willson Contreras Set for an Early Return Against Braves Following Forearm Fracture RecoverySource: Johnmaxmena2, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Willson Contreras is reportedly making a rapid recovery, with indications pointing to a return to the lineup ahead of schedule after a forearm fracture. Back in early May, Contreras took a hit from J.D. Martinez's bat that left him with a significant injury, which typically would have sidelined him for six to ten weeks, according to medical prognoses. Yet, according to WREG, Contreras is slated to be back behind the plate for the Cardinals as soon as Monday, a mere seven weeks after the incident.

During his rehabilitation with Triple-A Memphis Redbirds, Contreras played with a defiance to doctors' timelines, telling WREG, "I like to be challenged and when I heard the doctor say between six or eight weeks, maybe ten, I was like, no, that ain't going to happen." Despite the stark reality of feeling "the bone crack" during the May 7 incident against the Mets, Contreras was quick to move forward from the ordeal, focusing on his recovery and anticipating his role in boosting the Cardinals' current season performance.

Contreras's stint as the designated hitter and later as catcher during his time with the Redbirds saw him gaining two hits and an RBI in eight at-bats. "Definitely thankful for being back to playing baseball," Contreras stated in an interview, affirming his ambitions and readiness as outlined by Local Memphis. The Redbirds manager Ben Johnson echoed this optimism, noting Contreras's explosiveness and preparedness to rejoin the major league squad.

Amidst his anticipated return, Contreras acknowledges that some adjustments to his catching position are prudent. "Now I'm aware of my setup for sure," he told Commercial Appeal. His proactive stance on modifying his play style suggests a strategic consideration for his long-term health and performance. This introspection coupled with a strong week of rehab games has not only poised Contreras for a swift return but has also provided mentoring opportunities for younger players, enhancing the dynamics within the organization.

The Cardinals, currently navigating through a near .500 record, are likely to welcome the return of their seasoned catcher, as Contreras was leading the team with a .280 average prior to his injury. His impending presence on Monday comes as a booster shot not only for the team's lineup but also for the fans anticipating his return to the diamond. The St. Louis team and its followers can tentatively mark their calendars for Contreras's return when they host the Atlanta Braves, as noted in his hopeful statement, "Hopefully on Monday, I’ll be playing with the Cardinals."