Cubs' Willson Contreras Moves Past Ejection, Keeps Focus on Present

Cubs’ Contreras keeping his focus on present originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Willson Contreras had already moved past his Friday ejection when members of the media asked him about it pregame Saturday.

In short, it’s another example of where Contreras’ head is at this season, and his mentality in his final year of club control with the Cubs.

“Once I walked out of the field [Friday], I had my thoughts about it and already put it behind [me],” Contreras said. 

“I know we’re going through a tough stretch here but I’m looking forward to having a good game today and help my team anyway I can.”

And that’s the point. 
Contreras was ejected Friday for arguing a called strike 3 that appeared inside, and then got his money’s worth with an animated demonstration before leaving the field. 

“If somebody is going to take my at-bat away from me like that, they’re going to hear me. That doesn’t justify anything. I’ve got to be better than that. 

“Today is a new day. We’re not going to take a pitch for granted. I just care about myself and my team.”

That was before Contreras had to exit Saturday's game with right hamstring tightness, after a 1-for-2 start that included a stolen base.

But before the game, he said he discussed his ejection with the team. When asked whether it was a byproduct of built-up frustration from the Cubs’ recent struggles, Contreras chose to move forward.

“We cannot focus on frustration, we cannot focus on the negativity,” Contreras said. “The only thing we can control is how hard we come today. 

“Play hard and do the best we can to beat this team.”

Contreras has said repeatedly this season he’s “at peace” with whatever the future holds for him, be it at the trade deadline this summer or this coming offseason.

He reiterated that point Saturday and has continued to back it up with his performance. He entered the day with a .254/.380/.458 slash line in 33 games.

“I'm really at peace in my mind, at peace with myself and whatever comes, I’ll be good with it,” Contreras said.

“I have done a lot for this team, and that's one thing that helps me to keep my head up.”

Contreras’ performance this season has come with the typical passion and fire we’re accustomed to seeing from him. 

He was ejected Friday, and three days prior was involved in a minor collision with Dan Vogelbach at the plate. After the two exchanged words, the Cubs and Pirates’ benches cleared to exchange pleasantries.

“He's passionate about winning every day and getting better every day and trying to help his team win,” manager David Ross said Saturday. “I know he's in that mindset. 

“I never have to question where he's at as far as the passion of bringing everything he has to today's game to help us win.”

Contreras is keeping his focus on the present, whether it’s day-to-day or just pitch-to-pitch, and he’s going to bring that typical fire.

“That's part of what I've been doing for six years with the Cubs, not taking a single pitch easy,” he said. 

“I care about my job; I care about my team.”

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