Catcher Willson Contreras and left-hander Derek Holland have been activated from the 10-day injured list, the Cubs announced Tuesday. Contreras had been out since early August due to a hamstring strain, while Holland has been out since Aug. 25 owing to a wrist contusion.
Contreras will return to a different catching mix than he left, as the Cubs quickly scooped up veteran Jonathan Lucroy to help cover for Contreras’ absence. Lucroy has hit just .232/.302/.282 through 43 plate appearances since joining the Cubs, though he’s served primarily as a backup to hot-hitting Victor Caratini. In 79 plate appearances since Contreras was placed on the IL, the switch-hitting Caratini put together an impressive .271/.354/.471 output with four long balls and a pair of doubles.
Productive as Caratini may have been, Contreras should assume the lion’s share of playing time behind the dish if he’s at full health. Contreras, 27, made his second All-Star team in 2019 and has posted a .275/.365/.525 batting line through 340 plate appearances over the life of 87 games. Between him and Caratini, it seems that playing time for the veteran Lucroy could be scarce moving forward.
As for Holland, he’s allowed five runs on eight hits and three walks with eight punchouts in 9 2/3 innings with the Cubs since they picked him up from the Giants. He’ll give manager Joe Maddon another left-handed option out of the bullpen as the Cubs look to close a three-game deficit to overtake the NL Central-leading Cardinals.