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Willson Contreras moved to DH role by struggling Cardinals

Contreras moved to DH role by Cardinals originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The signing of catcher Willson Contreras by the St. Louis Cardinals is not going to plan, with manager Oliver Marmol announcing this weekend that the big-ticket free agent signing will serve primarily as a designated hitter in coming weeks.

Marmol’s announcement comes as the Cardinals wallow in the basement of the National League Central, with the league’s worst record at 10-24.

“We’re not losing ballgames because of Willson Contreras,” Marmol said. “He will DH a decent amount moving forward, and then we have a strategy as to what that looks like beyond that.”

Andrew Knizner will serve as the main catcher for the time being, and Contreras could see some action in the outfield, Marmol said.

“It’s tough,” Contreras said. “I know that my primary position is catching. If they want me to DH more, I can do nothing about it but be the best hitter I can be.”

Contreras inked a five-year, $87.5 million deal with the Cardinals after spending the first seven seasons of his career with the Chicago Cubs. He has a .277 batting average, with two home runs and 14 RBI’s this season, but his struggles to mesh with the new pitching staff have been noteworthy in recent weeks.

According to the Associated Press, Cardinals pitchers have a 5.04 ERA in innings caught by Contreras this season, and that number drops by a full run when Knizner is behind the plate.

Contreras has a minus-2 defensive runs saved mark so far this season, one of the league’s worst.

The Cardinals are currently on an eight-game losing streak entering action on Sunday. Contreras will make his return to Wrigley Field Monday to play against his former team for the first time.

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