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Contreras comfortable with Cubs' catching reins

MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

CHICAGO -- Willson Contreras went from the Cubs' student catcher last June to becoming the full-time starter and man behind the plate for the World Series. With the recent departure of Miguel Montero and the addition of rookie Victor Caratini, Contreras also is a mentor and doing what he can to help others.

"I feel comfortable in my position, and now that I'm going to be the starting catcher, it feels great," Contreras said. "I have no pressure, nothing to complain about. I have to keep doing what I've been doing since last year, keep learning my pitchers, make them comfortable with me, and keep battling this season."

CHICAGO -- Willson Contreras went from the Cubs' student catcher last June to becoming the full-time starter and man behind the plate for the World Series. With the recent departure of Miguel Montero and the addition of rookie Victor Caratini, Contreras also is a mentor and doing what he can to help others.

"I feel comfortable in my position, and now that I'm going to be the starting catcher, it feels great," Contreras said. "I have no pressure, nothing to complain about. I have to keep doing what I've been doing since last year, keep learning my pitchers, make them comfortable with me, and keep battling this season."

How far has Contreras come? On Sunday, he posted a congratulatory tweet to teammate Wade Davis for making the All-Star Game.

Said Contreras on Twitter: "I want to congrats my brotha Wade Davis on making the ALL STAR GAME. Well deserved. Really happy for this guy"

Tweet from @WContreras40: I want to congrats my brotha Wade Davis on making the ALL STAR GAME. Well deserved ��Really happy for this guy �� pic.twitter.com/PJ7xGXIeo7

He's also helping Special Olympics Illinois with the Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby, in which spectators watch more than 50,000 yellow rubber ducks splash in the Chicago River. The event on Aug. 3 will benefit more than 22,000 Special Olympic athletes and more than 20,000 Young Athletes across Illinois.

The effort is personal for Contreras, who has a 9-year-old cousin, Frandayan, who has Down syndrome.

"They appreciate life, they don't complain, and sometimes people who have normal lives complain too much about everything," Contreras said. "That's one thing I think about, and I have no doubt to support them and I'll be there for them."

Tweet from @WContreras40: Honored to be the 2017 @SO_Illinois Celebrity #ChiDuckyDerby Ambassador! Join me & adopt your rubber ducks today at https://t.co/uppBLOd1qJ pic.twitter.com/QWKPCZL8Jc

Right now, he's thinking about his added responsibilities. Montero was designated for assignment last week and traded Monday to the Blue Jays, and the Cubs are relying on Contreras, 25, and Caratini, 23.

"Since Spring Training, he's been helping me a lot," Caratini said of Contreras. "I'm going to keep listening and learning."

"He's going to be good," Montero said of Caratini, with whom he worked in Spring Training. "He's a good addition for the team. He's a good player, good kid. I'm happy for him to get the shot, the opportunity."

Cubs coach Mike Borzello helps the catchers with the scouting reports. He's got two very eager students.

"I will take care of Victor," Contreras said. "I'm super happy he's here, because he deserves it. We're going to do well. We have a lot to learn together and we're going to share ideas. He's a good guy, he likes to listen."

The biggest assignment for Contreras this year has been replacing veteran David Ross as Jon Lester's personal catcher. Lester has repeatedly said he has no problems with the young catcher.

"If he says that, that makes me feel proud of myself," Contreras said when told Lester is comfortable with him. "That was something that was in my mind with Lester, and every pitcher, and that is to make them comfortable and make them be the best and make the team be the best. I'm going to play with all my energy, and I just want them to get comfortable with my energy."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Chicago Cubs, Willson Contreras