Cardinals fumble away Opening Day, Contreras leaves St. Louis debut with a right-knee injury

Contreras took a triple-digit Jordan Hicks fastball off the kneecap in the eighth inning.
St. Louis Cardinals catcher Willson Contreras, center, leaves a baseball game with the help of...
St. Louis Cardinals catcher Willson Contreras, center, leaves a baseball game with the help of trainer Chris Conroy and manager Oliver Marmol (37) after being injured during the eighth inning on opening day against the Toronto Blue Jays Thursday, March 30, 2023, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)(Jeff Roberson | AP)
Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 6:58 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - In a game that was far from perfect but contained more than enough positive moments to instill confidence in a promising season to come, the Cardinals appeared well on their way to a storybook win Thursday afternoon at Busch Stadium.

Then the top of the eighth inning happened.

Every starter in the Cardinals lineup recorded at least one hit in Thursday’s game, but it wasn’t enough for the Redbirds as St. Louis allowed two runs in both the eighth and ninth innings to drop the opener to Toronto, 10-9.

As if the sting of letting the Opening Day game slip through your fingertips wasn’t brutal enough, the question of the moment is how long the Cardinals could be feeling the effects of what took place in the top half of the inning. New Cardinals catcher Willson Contreras was forced to leave his debut prematurely after taking a 102.7 mph Jordan Hicks sinker off the right kneecap.

Contreras broke out of his squat to chase after the wild pitch but was noticeably limping as he retrieved the baseball. After testing the knee under the eye of a team trainer, Contreras could be seen shaking his head, seemingly unable to comfortably get into a catcher’s stance.

The Cardinals announced that Contreras was removed from the game with a right-knee contusion. X-rays on the knee came back negative, but Oliver Marmol added that Contreras still needed to get an MRI to rule out any major concerns.

Reliever Giovanny Gallegos was unavailable to pitch Thursday after tweaking his lower back. His status is considered day-to-day.