Cleat Geeks

Wrigley Weekly Wrap-up

WillsonWillson Contreras’ time has come! The Cubs’ number two prospect was asleep when the call of his dreams woke him up with an order to meet manager Marty Pevey in his hotel room. The Triple-A Iowa manager delivered the news of Contreras’ call to the big leagues, which was official on Friday. “My first thought was, ‘Wow, now is my time,'” Contreras said. “I just can’t believe my dream came true and now I’m here. What I dreamed since I was a kid.” He added: “From now on, the Cubs are going to have a really nice player.” Contreras was batting .350 with nine home runs, 43 RBIs, 16 doubles, and three triples in 54 games for Iowa. He was the organization’s minor-league player of the year in 2015. When Contreras arrived to Wrigley Field on Friday, he was welcomed with hugs. “The prodigy is here,” Catcher David Ross said after hugging Contreras. “Good to see you.” The Cubs hope he can learn from veterans Miguel Montero and David Ross. Contreras will be the third catcher on the Cubs’ depth chart. Tim Federowicz was designated for assignment to make room for Contreras. How long his first stay in the big leagues stretches is unknown, Joe Maddon said. But for now, Contreras will get his mind working at a major-league pace and he will get some playing time. “This is a well thought out program for (him) and everybody is reading from the same sheet of music,” Maddon said. “We’ll do our best to ease him into this.” Contreras will make his first major-league start on Monday night, catching for John Lackey against the St. Louis Cardinals.

All-Stars

The Cubs are still dominating the All-Star Game polls. Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Dexter Fowler, and Ben Zobrist are within 150,000 votes of one another for the top overall spot in the latest All-Star Game ballot update. Rizzo is the National League top vote-getter, Bryant leads National League third basemen, Fowler is at the top among outfielders, and Zobrist is first among second basemen. Addison Russell leads National League shortstops, as well. If Anthony Rizzo stays on top, he would become the first Cubs first baseman to lead the National League in fan voting since Derrek Lee did so in 2005. Catcher Miguel Montero ranks fourth among National League backstops while Jason Heyward is fourth among National League outfielders and Jorge Soler is sixth.

RizzoBryant

Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo participated in last year’s Home Run Derby, but they would prefer to skip this year’s hitting competition if asked to participate. Bryant and Rizzo were both eliminated in the first round of the 2015 event, held at Great American Ball Park. Bryant was eliminated by Albert Pujols, while Rizzo was eliminated by Josh Donaldson. “I’m not sure yet,” Rizzo said. “We’ll see where we’re at when it comes. You never know.” Bryant’s father, Mike, pitched to him in the event, but Bryant wasn’t sure he could do that again. His father injured his back during the off-season. “I don’t really want to,” Bryant said about participating in the Derby. “My mind could change, but I have to get there first. There’s still a lot of baseball to be played.” Maybe a certain Cubs pitcher will participate? “Last year was fun,” Bryant said. “If they’re going to ask me, maybe I’ll let Jake [Arrieta] do it. He wants to do it. It could be Jake versus [Madison] Bumgarner. It was fun last year, but it was really tiring, and I didn’t get to enjoy the moment as much as I really wanted to. It was still very fun.” Arrieta has said he’d like to see pitchers get involved in the Home Run Derby.

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