Contreras plays the villain in his return to Chicago

Soak it up, Willson Contreras.

Soak it all up.

In his first game at Wrigley Field since signing a five-year deal with the Cardinals this past off-season, Contreras was greeted with an emotional ovation from the crowd, which was a strong mixture of Cubs and Cardinals fans.

However, his performance, one of his best over the past few weeks, led to the Chicago faithful booing the All-Star catcher.

Contreras coming through with a hit in his first AB back at Wrigley is probably the best thing one possibly could have hoped for him in the midst of everything over the past week.

In what has become a very highly controversial move from the organization, Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol confirmed this past Saturday that Contreras will see more time at designated hitter. The team called up catcher Tres Barrera to replace him behind the plate. Marmol told reporters that Barrera and Andrew Knizner will split catching duties, with Knizner seeing the bulk of action behind the plate in the coming weeks.

The day after initial reports that Contreras would see time in the outfield, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak told The Athletic on Sunday that Contreras would play in the outfield only in an emergency situation.

“We won’t have him in the outfield,” Mozeliak. “I know that came out yesterday, but after talking with him, it’s basically going to be more in the DH role right now. And there’s light at the end of the tunnel to get back behind the plate.

“I don’t anticipate [Contreras in the outfield] unless there’s some sort of emergency reason. Everything was moving quickly yesterday. A lot of things were getting out there. His hope is he gets a chance to get behind the plate. That’s what we’re going to work toward.”

Veteran members of the squad, most notably World Series champion Adam Wainwright rallied around the star catcher.

“What we did was we sat down yesterday and just poured into him,” said Wainwright, who returned on Saturday after missing five weeks with a groin strain. “We love this guy. We’re glad he’s here and we want him to be our guy. I think he took it well. Honestly, I don’t know if anyone’s ever told him that. But he’s appreciated, we love him and we’re glad he’s here.”

And Contreras’ performance on Monday helped the Cardinals win their second game in a row, as they look to regroup and make an early-season comeback.

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