Catcher Willson Contreras could easily play in 85-90 percent of the Cubs' games this season.
With the regular season shortened to 60 games and the universal designated hitter in place, Contreras said he and manager David Ross spoke a few weeks ago about expectations for this year.
"He told me be ready to play every single day," Contreras recalled Saturday, before facing the Brewers, "and if you play 50 or 55 games this year it'll be perfect."
Contreras told Ross he would be ready.
Because of the physical demands of the position, catchers tend to have more built-in off days than other position players. The most games Contreras has played in a season is 138, or about 85 percent of the Cubs' 2018 schedule.
On Saturday, in the Cubs' second game of the season, Contreras started at DH. Yu Darvish was pitching, and this year the right-hander will be paired with backup catcher Victor Caratini. On Opening Day, the two catchers' roles were reversed: Contreras behind the dish and Caratini at DH.
"I liked Vic's bat against (Brewers Opening Day starter Brandon) Woodruff," Ross said. "It's a good matchup for him. "Willy's swung the bat as well as anybody leading up to this point, and it just makes a lot of sense to put him in the DH. He's one of our best hitters."
In a 60-game season, Darvish is penciled in for about 12 starts. So, that gives Contreras about 12 days off from catching. By that calculation, after Saturday Contreras would only have to DH once more to play 50 games, or 83 percent of the season. Barring extenuating circumstances, he'll likely surpass that threshold.
Ross will weigh matchups but also factor in whose bat is the hottest. In that aspect, if Summer Camp is any indication, Contreras could make it difficult for Ross to take him out of the batting order.
Willson Contreras starts at DH: How many Cubs games could he play in 2020? originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago