Just 34 games into Willson Contreras’ tenure with the St. Louis Cardinals, the team has removed him from the regular catching rotation and will use him primarily at designated hitter and in the outfield.
Contreras, who joined the Cardinals on a five-year, $87.5 million contract as a free agent in December, began his new regular stint at designated hitter with Saturday’s game against the Detroit Tigers, a 6-5 loss in 10 innings.
Andrew Knizner caught Saturday’s game and will continue to serve as the Cardinals’ primary catcher over the next few weeks, with Tres Barrera — who was called up from Triple-A Memphis on Saturday — also getting some opportunities.
The Cardinals have the worst record in the National League at 10-24 and are on an eight-game losing streak.
St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol told reporters he was not blaming Contreras for the Cardinals’ struggles and noted that the decision was made following a meeting with president of baseball operations John Mozeliak, pitching coach Dusty Blake and Contreras.
Contreras, 30, went 1-for-5 Saturday with two strikeouts. For the season he is hitting .277 with two home runs and 14 RBIs in 32 games. He has served as the Cardinals’ starting catcher in 23 games and caught in 27 this year.