Former Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras breaks left forearm when hit by bat swing

Former Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras breaks left forearm when hit by bat swing

ST. LOUIS — Cardinals catcher Willson Contreras broke his left forearm when he was hit by a swing during Tuesday night’s 7-5 loss to the New York Mets.

Contreras told reporters he will need surgery and miss at least six weeks.

“So right now I mean, I’m in pain pretty good, but I’m really upset missing,” Contreras said. “I know that it’s going to be tough for me to watch the games and not out there with the guys, but I’m going to do my best to stay present, pick each other up and cheer for them because that’s the best thing I can do.”

Contreras got hurt with J.D. Martinez at the plate in the second inning. After he was clipped by Martinez’s swing, the three-time All-Star tumbled over in obvious pain and then jogged away before sitting down while was examined by St. Louis’ training staff.

“I hit meat,” Martinez said. “I felt like I hit meat. I didn’t hit like just like a glove where you kind of just point back to catcher, it was just solid. I was like, dude, I hit him good. … I felt terrible.”

Martinez was awarded first base due to catcher’s interference. The team said Contreras had a left forearm fracture, and Iván Herrera took over behind the plate.

Contreras said he thought Martinez was a little late on his swing, which led to bad timing.

“I think if he sees the pitch well, he’d try to hit a little up front and he wouldn’t hit me,” Contreras said. “I’m not blaming him. He’s doing his thing. Things happen for a reason.”

Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas called Contreras the team’s “beating heart” behind the plate.

“He’s close to the plate trying to steal strikes,” Mikolas said. “You know, as pitchers we appreciate that, but you know, if we knew he was going to get hurt, I’d rather throw all balls. … Thinking about it after the fact, I think there should be a line back there, you know, for the catchers and just have them stay behind the line. That way, no one can get any closer than the next guy. And if you put them back there in a spot that’s deemed safe, and you know, that might help guys.”

Contreras doubled and scored during St. Louis’ three-run first. He is hitting .280 with six homers and 12 RBIs. The 31-year-old is in the second year of a five-year, $87.5 million contract.

“It’s a tough one, man,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “He’s been doing such a phenomenal job. He’s an extreme competitor. He brings so much to the club performance-wise, but also with just his competitive nature, so to see him go down is tough. I feel for him, I really do. He was putting together a really nice year and helping us in a lot of ways so it’s a tough one.”

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