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Cubs’ Willson Contreras to miss 4-6 weeks with hamstring injury

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The catcher is likely to return before the end of the season.

Washington Nationals v Chicago Cubs Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Cubs catcher Willson Contreras will miss 4-6 weeks with a moderate hamstring strain, according to a team announcement. Contreras is likely to return before the end of the season.

Contreras, 25, has worked to a .274/.342/.519 line with 21 homers and 70 RBI this season, hitting .311 with 10 homers since the All-Star break. His absence means the Cubs will have to turn to veteran catcher Alex Avila, who was acquired at the trade deadline and will start over backup Victor Caratini.

Contreras’ absence comes at a tough time for the Cubs, who currently atop the NL Central. The Cardinals (1 GB), Brewers (2 GB) and Pirates (2.5 GB) are all within striking distance of Chicago in tight divisional race.

Contreras, who assumed the starting role this season after making his debut and appearing in only 76 games last season, has been a key contributor for the Cubs all season. His healthy return will be crucial for the club’s stretch run in late September.