MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (September 7, 2017) - The Chicago Cubs have announced that catcher Willson Contreras has been assigned to Myrtle Beach to begin an injury rehabilitation assignment. Contreras is expected to play for the Pelicans on Thursday and Friday in the Southern Division Championship Series against the Down East Wood Ducks.
Contreras was the Opening Day starter behind the plate for the Cubs and has batted .274/.342/.519 with 20 doubles, 21 home runs and 70 RBIs over 102 games in 2017. The 25-year-old backstop will see his first action since being placed on the disabled list on August 11 with a hamstring injury.
A native of Puerto Cabello in Venezuela, Contreras made his major league debut at Wrigley Field on June 17, 2016, his eighth season in the Cubs' organization after being signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2009. On June 19 against Pittsburgh, he launched a two-run homer on the first pitch of his first career big league at-bat. Overall, Contreras batted .282/.357/.488 with 14 doubles, one triple, 12 homers and 35 RBIs during his rookie campaign. In Game 4 of last season's National League Championship Series, Contreras' two-run single in the ninth inning tied the game at five, a critical moment in the Cubs' first World Series title run since 1908.
Named Chicago's Minor League Player of the Year in 2015 while suiting up for current Pelicans manager Buddy Bailey with Double-A Tennessee, Contreras led the Southern League with a .333 batting average. On the year, he slashed .333/.413/.478 with 34 doubles, four triples, eight home runs and 75 RBIs with the Smokies, earning both Mid-Season and Postseason Southern League All-Star honors. Contreras was also selected to play in the 2015 Arizona Fall League All-Star Game. That huge 2015 season prompted MLB.com to name Contreras the top catching prospect and No. 51 overall prospect in all of baseball.
Contreras is the fourth player with major league experience to embark on an injury rehabilitation assignment with Myrtle Beach during the Pelicans' three-year affiliation with the Cubs. Right-hander Alec Mills made two starts with the Birds in the regular season and is slated to take the ball Friday in Game 2 of the Southern Division Championship Series. Outfielders Chris Denorfia and Jorge Soler also played with Myrtle Beach during the 2015 season.
Game 2 of the Southern Division Championship Series and, if necessary, Game 3, will be played as seven-inning contests beginning at 5:05 p.m. Friday at TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark. Single-game playoff tickets and a special postseason ticket package are available on www.MyrtleBeachPelicans.com and by calling the Pelicans' Box Office at (843) 918-6000.
The 2017 season is the 19th season for the Pelicans franchise and third as the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. For information on tickets to see the Pelicans in 2017, please call (843) 918-6000, e-mail email@example.com, or visit www.MyrtleBeachPelicans.com.
ABOUT THE PELICANS: The Myrtle Beach Pelicans are the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Chicago Cubs and play their home games at TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The park has ranked in the top eight in all of Minor League Baseball by Stadium Journey in each of the last six seasons. The same publication also placed the Pelicans in the Top 100 Stadium Experiences in all of sports in each of the last six years and the best in the Carolina League for six straight seasons as well. In May 2015, TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark won the 2015 TripAdvisor.com Certificate of Excellence award. The Pelicans are the two-time defending Mills Cup Champions, winning the title in 2015 and 2016 as well as 2000 and co-Mills Cup championship honors in the inaugural 1999 season. The Pelicans have made ten postseason appearances behind 12 half-season Southern Division championships, including the first half of the 2015 season and second half of 2016. For more information on the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, please contact the Pelicans at (843) 918-6000 or emailing Info@MyrtleBeachPelicans.com.