CHICAGO – They’ve been two of the key players in the current Cubs’ run of success, but each has endured extended stays out of the lineup.
It’s been much greater for Ben Zobrist than Willson Contreras, in fact, it’s by a couple of months. But on Tuesday night, each finally makes their return to the Cubs’ lineup as the team faces the Mariners at Wrigley Field.
Here is tonight's #Cubs starting lineup.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 3, 2019
Zobrist will make his first appearance in a Cubs’ uniform since coming off his personal leave that began after his last appearance on May 6th. It coincided with his much-publicized divorce from wife Julianna, spending over three months away from baseball before starting his comeback in the minors on August 12th.
During stops in South Bend, Myrtle Beach, Tennessee, and Iowa, Zobrist played in 12 games before being activated on August 31st. He was put on the roster in time to be eligible for the Cubs’ playoff roster.
He’ll bat leadoff this evening, playing in his 27th game of the season, picking up after hitting .241 with 10 RBI in the first month of 2019.
Contreras has been out of the Cubs’ lineup since August 3rd, when he suffered a hamstring injury during a seventh-inning at-bat against the Brewers. It marked the second time in three seasons that a hamstring injury has cost the All-Star catcher significant time in the second half of the season.
Like 2017, Contreras was enjoying a strong year before the injury, hitting .275 with a .525 slugging percentage with 19 home runs and 57 RBI.
Key contributions from both would be appreciated, considering the Cubs have some ground to make up in the National League Central Division race. Right now the Cardinals lead the Cubs by three games with 25 left in the season.
While those two are back, Kris Bryant was a late scratch from the lineup with knee soreness.