Results tagged ‘ Jose Contreras ’

Contreras’ Season Is Over

It looked like a season-ending injury the moment Jose Contreras dropped to the turf in pain in the seventh inning last night at Citizens Bank Park.

It turned out to be just that.

Contreras had a MRI exam this morning and the Phillies said results showed he completely tore the UCL and flexor pronator tendon in his right elbow, ending his season. It is a big blow to a bullpen that had just started pitching better after struggling the first six weeks of the season. Contreras, who said he felt completely healthy before that one fateful pitch, was 1-0 with a 5.27 ERA in 17 appearances, but had a 1.86 ERA in his last 11 appearances before injuring himself Friday.

“I’m very, very disappointed,” Contreras said through his translator, Phillies third base coach Juan Samuel. “Going back to last year, it was in April (when I got hurt), I tried to come back, made some attempts, I worked really hard after surgery (in September). I worked hard in Spring Training. Even though I felt when I came back that I wasn’t where I needed to be, I worked hard and my command was there in the last four, five outings. To have this happen again, it’s very disappointing.”

Contreras, 40, had flexor pronator surgery in September. The Phillies said they will get a second opinion from orthopedist Lewis Yocum, who performed the surgery.

Contreras said he plans to have surgery and will try to pitch again, although he knows the odds are stacked against him.

“It’s difficult having a second surgery, but I’ll see after the surgery,” he said. “It’s going to be hard but I’ll give it a shot.”

“I feel badly for him,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “He worked pretty hard to get back to the point where he started to be pretty effective. It’s a tough piece of news to take.”

The injury leaves Jonathan Papelbon, Antonio Bastardo, Chad Qualls, Jake Diekman, Joe Savery, Raul Valdes and Michael Schwimer — who the Phillies recalled to take Contreras’ place — in the bullpen. The Phillies have relievers Mike Stutes, David Herndon and Justin De Fratus on the DL, leaving them very thin.

Contreras had started to work himself into the setup role, but that might fall to Bastardo now.

“Bastardo’s been doing fine,” Amaro said.

But Charlie Manuel last night expressed his concerns about the team’s bullpen depth.

“We need some bullpen pieces,” he said. “We need some. We needed some when the game started tonight. And now we need more.”

Schwimer Laying Low on Twitter

Michael Schwimer is back, but he said he will be worrying only about his pitching this time around.

The Phils recalled Schwimer from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take injured Jose Contreras‘ place in the bullpen. Schwimer is 0-1 with an 8.10 ERA in six appearances for the Phillies this season. He is 2-1 with a 3.93 ERA and six saves in 18 1/3 innings with Lehigh Valley. He said he knows he has struggled in his few opportunities with the Phillies, but he is hopeful his body of work for the entire season will paint a much different picture.

“I like to be judged on a season’s worth of innings,” he said. “Did I struggle? Yes, there’s no sugar-coating that. But I believe in the law of large numbers and sample size. I feel like if I can do that than I should be fine.”

Schwimer, who walked a batter in 1/3 inning Saturday, caused a stir in the organization last month when he tweeted three Phillies roster moves before the team had made them official. He congratulated Jake Diekman, Raul Valdes and Hector Luna on their recent promotions, but the problem was the Phillies had not yet told the players who were being demoted (Brian Sanches and Erik Kratz) that they had been sent down.

Schwimer was reprimanded for it.

“I had no idea I was breaking news,” he said Saturday morning at Citizens Bank Park. “I thought when you got called up that everybody knew already. It’s something I probably should have known, but I wasn’t aware of. I got a firm talking to about it, so now I know. It will never happen again. I learned a lesson.”

In fact, Schwimer said he will be laying low on social media.

“All that stuff — Twitter, the blogging — is pretty much going to come to an end,” he said. “I’m still going to have a Twitter account, but I’m not really going to talk much about baseball, because I just feel like the position I’m in, I need to keep a much lower profile. I need to go about my business and just focus on pitching. All that other stuff, tweeting and all that stuff, is going to be limited or stopped. I don’t want to ruffle any feathers. You can say a lot of things that people take the wrong way. I don’t want to put myself in that situation.”

Use Pap or Not?

I have received lots of questions about Jonathan Papelbon since yesterday’s 5-4 loss to Pittsburgh.

The Phillies lost two consecutive games on walk-offs, and the Phillies did not use Papelbon either time. Fans want to know why the Phillies didn’t use him. The reason is simple: managers do not like to use their closer in tie games on the road. Charlie Manuel doesn’t. Larry Bowa didn’t. Honestly, if you can find a manager that regularly uses his closer in tie games on the road please let me know. I know that answer isn’t going to be satisfactory for many, but managers want their closer pitching in save situations. Use your closer in a tie game one night then maybe he’s not available the next night when you have a save situation. Think about it that way, too. You can’t pitch the guy every day.

Now, Rich Dubee said he thought about having Papelbon pitch in Saturday’s game, but only because he didn’t want Papelbon warming up several times during the night (think about what happened to Brad Lidge in the 2008 All-Star Game … not good).

“How many times am I going to crank Pap up?” Dubee said.

But why didn’t the Phillies use Papelbon with two outs in the eighth inning yesterday? The Phillies had a one-run lead, so it was a save situation. Papelbon has pitched more than an inning in a save situation 39 times in his career. He has pitched one or fewer innings in a save situation 210 times.

He is 2-1 with a 2.09 ERA and 31 saves (79.5 percent) when he pitches more than an inning.

He is 2-11 with a 2.52 ERA and 189 saves (90 percent) when he pitches one or fewer innings.

“It’s a little early,” Dubee said. “You want me to run him out there 162 games? It’s hard. You’ve got nobody else to close the game. If you had somebody with experience closing the game, if you had (Jose) Contreras, then you might think about doing it.”


Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here!
Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • April 26: Barnes & Noble in Marlton, NJ, 7 p.m.
  • May 10: Tredyfrrin Public Library in Stafford, PA, 7:30 p.m.

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Contreras, Stutes Could Open on DL

The Phillies say they have no feel for how their 25-man roster will look Opening Day.

In reality they do. They simply are not ready to make an announcement.

They have until 5 p.m. Wednesday to make everything official, and things are still changing. It looks more and more like right-handers Jose Contreras and Mike Stutes could open the season on the disabled list, which would seem to solidify one spot in the bullpen for right-hander David Herndon and another spot in the bullpen for either left-hander Raul Valdes or left-hander Joe Savery.

“He’ll probably start on the DL,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said of Contreras this morning.


Stutes Scratched

The Phillies scratched right-hander Mike Stutes from his scheduled appearance tomorrow in New York because of a shoulder issue.

Said Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee: “A little inflammation. We don’t think it’s anything major. We’ll give him a little time off. He’s had eight or nine outings down here.”

Said Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock: “It’s nothing serious.”

He said no MRI is scheduled.

Dubee mentioned Stutues’ nine Grapefruit League appearances, implying if Stutes misses a few days he could still be ready for Opening Day next Thursday.

You figure Stutes is penciled in for one of the six spots in the bullpen, if the Phillies have everybody healthy and carry just 11 pitchers into the season. But things get a little crazy if Stutes is unable to open the season and Jose Contreras, who is still throwing in Minor League spring training games, is unable to open the season. Add Antonio Bastardo‘s lack of velocity and the Phillies’ bullpen situation is less settled than they’d like it to be.

“There’s nothing wrong with him,” Proefrock said about Bastardo.


Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here!
Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • April 2: Barnes & Noble in Plymouth Meeting, PA, 7 p.m.
  • April 3: Chester County Book Company in West Chester, PA, 7 p.m.
  • April 26: Barnes & Noble in Marlton, NJ, 7 p.m.

Signing Copies of The Rotation Monday in Clearwater!

Just a heads up: Jim Salisbury and I will be signing copies of The Rotation from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. today at Bright House Field in Clearwater.

Check out what some people have said about the book: Here. Here. Here. Here. Here. Here. Here.

Hope to see you there!


It wasn’t terrible news for Placido Polanco, but his sprained left ring finger shows just how shaky the Phillies’ infield situation is.


Jose Contreras pitched in his first Grapefruit League game today, Jim Thome played his second consecutive game at first base and more HERE


Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here!
Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • March 19: Bright House Field in Clearwater, FL, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • April 2: Barnes & Noble in Plymouth Meeting, PA, 7 p.m.
  • April 3: Chester County Book Company in West Chester, PA, 7 p.m.
  • April 26: Barnes & Noble in Marlton, NJ, 7 p.m.

Big Jim, Big Truck and Bradenton

We’ve got another beautiful day in Clearwater …

The Phillies are headed south for a 1 p.m. game against the Pirates, but the big news today is at Carpenter Complex, where Jim Thome is going to play four or five innings at first base in a Minor League game, and Jose Contreras is going to pitch an inning. The Phillies are hoping Thome, who has not played more than an inning at first base since 2007, can play there 20 games this season. I think anything more than that would be a bonus, considering he is 41 and has a history of back problems.

Thome’s ability to play first base is huge. Charlie Manuel has said he wants Thome to get around 200 at-bats this season, but that is going to be difficult. Take a look at the most pinch-hit at-bats in a season in the big leagues since 1974 (thanks to David Hale for putting together this fancy chart):

Player Year PH at-bats
L. Harris 2001 83
R. Staub 1983 81
O. Palmeiro 2006 80
M. Franco 2003 78
J. Morales 1976 78
Ma. Sweeney 2008 78
J. Cruz 2005 76
Ma. Sweeney 2007 76
Gload 2011 74
5 tied N/A 72

So if Thome can match Gload he has 74 at-bats right there. Manuel said Thome can DH in nine road interleague games. Say that’s 35 at-bats. Thome now has 109 at-bats. He’s 91 at-bats short of Manuel’s goal. The only way to get close to 200 is his s ability to play first. Twenty games could give him roughly 80 more at-bats. So that’s why today is an important first step for the big man.

Today’s lineup in Bradenton:

  1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
  2. Juan Pierre, LF
  3. Shane Victorino, DH
  4. Laynce Nix, 1B
  5. Carlos Ruiz, C
  6. Scott Podsednik, RF
  7. Tyson Gillies, CF
  8. Pete Orr, 3B
  9. Michael Martinez, 2B

Vance Worley is on the mound.


Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here!
Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • March 19: Bright House Field in Clearwater, FL, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • April 2: Barnes & Noble in Plymouth Meeting, PA, 7 p.m.
  • April 3: Chester County Book Company in West Chester, PA, 7 p.m.
  • April 26: Barnes & Noble in Marlton, NJ, 7 p.m.

Howard, Utley Updates

Ruben Amaro Jr. offered some updates on Ryan Howard and Chase Utley this morning at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland:

  • Ryan Howard. Amaro said Howard will have his walking boot on for at least a week. “Maybe longer,” he said. Amaro said the infection is OK. “We’re just being really cautious with it,” he said. “The wound itself has to heal. He’s doing fine. We just want to make sure it heals. It’ll heal. … We just want to make sure we don’t have any more recurrence of any infections at all.” Because Howard is wearing the boot he has done little if anything in terms of conditioning or staying in shape.
  • Chase Utley. Utley is hitting, but not really doing much of anything else on the field. (The Phillies said at the beginning of camp they planned to bring along Utley slowly because of his chronic right knee condition, but the fact he has missed the first week of games is surprising.) “We’ve been keeping him off his feet,” Amaro said. He said he expects Utley to play at some point this spring, but could not say if he would play within the week. Amaro said it’s a decision between the club, doctors and Utley. The Phillies think Utley needs 30-40 at-bats to get ready for the season. They said that shouldn’t be a problem with Minor League Spring Training games beginning Monday.
  • Jose Contreras. He threw a bullpen today and is close to pitching in games.


Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here!

Injury Updates on Lee, Howard, Contreras and De Fratus

Ruben Amaro Jr. had a few injury updates this morning at Carpenter Complex, where the Phillies are holding their first full squad workout:

  • Cliff Lee. He missed a scheduled bullpen session yesterday, but Amaro said he is fine. Lee has “midsection soreness.” “But it’s really minimal,” Amaro said. “I’m not worried about Cliff.”
  • Ryan Howard. There is some thought Howard could be back before May, although it seems unlikely. Amaro said, “I don’t know how realistic it is. We all like to try to be optimistic. But as far as I’m concerned, if he comes back sometime in May, I’m happy. Ryan’s rehab is going well. He’s going to have good days. He’s going to have some not-so-good days. But he’s doing well, and that’s all we can ask. It’s a process we’ll let play out. We’re not in any rush to get him back.”
  • Jose Contreras. He threw a bullpen session this morning and the Phillies were “very encouraged.” Amaro said, “More importantly, he was encouraged, and that’s real important. Once you go through a surgery and you’re throwing, there’s always some tentativeness there. And so I think he had a really good demeanor when he walked off the mound. That’s a very, very good step for him.”
  • Justin De Fratus. He has some soreness in his right elbow. The Phillies are shutting him down for at least a week. Team physician Michael Ciccotti will examine him at some point. “We’re just trying to be conservative with him,” Amaro said. De Fratus first started feeling some tightness in his elbow in January. It hasn’t improved.


Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here!

Phillies Get Good News on Howard

Ruben Amaro Jr. yesterday received encouraging news on some players that had offseason surgeries, most notably, Ryan Howard.

Howard had surgery in October to repair a ruptured left Achilles. Foot and ankle specialist Mark Myerson examined Howard yesterday and cleared him to begin some strength and power exercises. Howard also will start jogging underwater, and is likely to begin baseball activities in six weeks. (He will start by fielding ground balls before progressing to hitting.)

That timetable places Howard’s baseball activities around the middle of February, which is the beginning of Spring Training.

Is there any chance Howard could be ready by Opening Day?

“I can’t even speculate,” Amaro told “All I know is that it’s nice to know that at some point in Spring Training that he’ll start doing some light baseball activities. I think it is good news.”

Phillies physician Michael Ciccotti examined right-hander Jose Contreras yesterday, and cleared him to begin a throwing program today. Contreras had surgery late last year to repair his right elbow.

“I don’t have any timetable on him,” Amaro said. “We’ll probably know more within the next month.”

But even with some uncertainty surrounding Contreras, Amaro said he is not looking to find another bullpen arm.

“If there’s somebody that falls in our lap, yeah,” Amaro said. “But it’s a good enough report (for Contreras) that we think he’s going to be ready. If not at Opening Day then hopefully close to it.”

Placido Polanco (sports hernia surgery) told Amaro recently he feels great and believes he will be ready to go 100 percent by Spring Training. Hunter Pence (sports hernia surgery) also is expected to be ready for Spring Training. Cole Hamels (surgery to remove loose bodies in left elbow) is throwing and feels fine.

“A very, very positive update as far as our walking wounded are concerned,” Amaro said.