Willson Contreras injury: Cardinals catcher breaks arm after being hit by swing vs. Mets

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Willson Contreras was forced to exit Tuesday night’s game against the New York Mets (NYM-STL GameTracker) in the second inning after J.D. Martinez’s swing caught him on the left forearm. Soon after the Cardinals announced that Contreras had suffered a left arm fracture. After the game, Contreras told reporters that he was informed he would be out at least six to eight weeks. Cardinals manager Oli Marmol added that Contreras could undergo surgery as early as Wednesday.

On Wednesday morning, the Cardinals officially placed Contreras on the injured list and recalled 25-year-old catcher Pedro Pagés in a corresponding move.

Conteras was down on the field in obvious pain for several minutes before leaving the game and being replaced behind the plate by Iván Herrera. Here’s a look at the play:

As you can see, Martinez caught Contreras’ arm on the forward portion of the swing as opposed to the less powerful backswing phase. As such, Martinez was awarded first base on catcher’s interference. Contreras this season in an effort to improve his receiving typically sets up closer to the plate than he has in the past. That plus the lunge forward to catch the slider from starter Miles Mikolas put Contreras in harm’s way.

“You’re expecting to hit a ball and you hit an arm,” Martinez told reporters after the game. “And you’re like, what was that? I hit meat. I felt I hit meat. I didn’t hit just a glove where you point back at the catcher. It was solid. Dude, I hit him good. When I got to first, I felt terrible.”

Given that Contreras is facing a lengthy recovery period, his absence will be a blow to the Cardinals. In addition to his improved framing behind the plate, he’s also far and away been St. Louis’ most productive hitter in 2024. Earlier in Tuesday’s contest, he hit a ringing double, which brought his slash line for the season to .280/.398/.551. That’s elite production for any hitter, let alone one who mans the catcher position. Compounding Contreras’ value to the Cardinals is just how bad the rest of the offense has been.

Speaking of which, the Cardinals are now 15-21 after Tuesday’s loss and in last place in the National League Central.

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