Hamstring strain could sideline Cubs catcher Willson Contreras up to six weeks

The defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs will be without their starting catcher for a while.

On Friday, the team announced Willson Contreras has a "moderate" hamstring strain and will be reevaluated in two weeks. He could miss as much as six weeks, however.

Contreras suffered the injury running out a ground ball Wednesday, and had to be helped off the field. Here's the play:

That six-week timetable could create some problems for the Cubs beyond the whole "not having Contreras for six weeks" thing. There are only seven weeks and two days remaining in the regular season. Should Contreras miss six weeks, he'll only have nine days to get up to speed for a potential postseason run. That'll be tough.

So far this season the 25-year-old Contreras is hitting .274/.342/.519 with 21 home runs in 102 games. He's been a monster in the second half, hitting .311/.380/.700 with 10 home runs and 29 RBI in 23 games since the All-Star break. Contreras has hit 16 home runs in his last 42 games overall, and he'd taken over as the team's regular cleanup hitter before getting hurt.

With Contreras sidelined, the Cubs will rely on trade deadline pickup Alex Avila to carry the load behind the plate. He is hitting .268/.387/.474 with 12 home runs in 81 games with the Cubs and Tigers this year. Avila had been sharing catching duties with James McCann in Detroit. Now he'll be the starter with Chicago.

The Cubbies came into Friday with a 59-54 record and a slim one-game lead over the Cardinals in the NL Central. The Brewers are only two games back, and the Pirates are only three games back. There doesn't seem to be a great team in the division this year, though the NL Central should give us a great race.

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

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