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Contreras' lack of hustle on double irks Cubs

Pinch-hitter forced to hurry into second base on deep fly
September 16, 2018

When a hitter takes some time to admire his shot after a particularly impressive swing, it's not uncommon for it to ruffle feathers in the opponents' dugout.But in the Cubs' 2-1 loss to the Reds on Sunday afternoon, when Willson Contreras turned what should have been a stand-up double into

When a hitter takes some time to admire his shot after a particularly impressive swing, it's not uncommon for it to ruffle feathers in the opponents' dugout.
But in the Cubs' 2-1 loss to the Reds on Sunday afternoon, when Willson Contreras turned what should have been a stand-up double into a close play at second due to a lack of hustle out of the batter's box, the incident ticked off manager Joe Maddon.
"Horrible. I didn't like that at all," Maddon said. "That will be addressed. The whole team didn't like that."
With the Cubs trailing, 2-0, in the fifth inning and Addison Russell at first base, Contreras pinch-hit for starting pitcher Jose Quintana and drilled a fly ball 416 feet to center field.
Evidently assuming that he had homered, Contreras dropped his bat and took eight steps out of the box while watching the ball in flight. He broke into a jog, then a full sprint, after seeing the ball hit off the center-field wall. He didn't make it to second base until after the ball was back in the infield, needing to slide into the base under Jose Peraza's tag.

It took Contreras 8.93 seconds to reach first base but only 3.57 seconds to sprint the 90 feet between first and second.
Contreras' miscue was ultimately inconsequential, because Russell was holding up between first and second in case Billy Hamilton made the catch and stopped at third on the play, which limited Contreras to a double in any case. A sacrifice fly by Albert Almora Jr. brought Russell home.

After the game, Contreras was at his locker, waiting for the media. He owned up to his mistake and expressed regret and embarrassment.
"I thought it was gone, yes," Contreras said. "I hit it super good. The wind in this ballpark -- I forgot about that. It kind of took me back to when I made my debut in 2016 [and homered to center field on the first pitch]. Obviously, today was not the same case.
"Thank God I was able to run hard and make it to second base because what I did was not good for baseball," Contreras said. "At first, I thought it was gone and I kind of walked and then I started running hard. That was bad on my side.
"I'm embarrassed with myself. I apologized to the pitcher and to the team and I think that's the right thing to do."

Do-Hyoung Park is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @dohyoungpark.