Contreras likely out four to six weeks

Jose Contreras is expected to miss at least a month with a Grade 1 flexor strain. (Michael Bryant/Staff file photo)

ST. LOUIS -- Jose Contreras, placed on the disabled list Thursday with recurring elbow soreness, will miss between four and six weeks, according to Phillies assistant general manager Benny Looper.

"He was examined by Dr. (Michael) Ciccotti today and it was determined that he has a Grade 1 flexor strain, which is in the forearm," Looper said before the Phillies' series finale with the St. Louis Cardinals. "It will be a couple of weeks with no throwing and potentially four to six weeks before he's pitching again for us. Hopefully he'll return before then."

This is Contreras' second trip this season to the disabled list. He had a pronator strain, which is close to the flexor muscle in the forearm, according to Looper. The assistant GM could not say for sure whether this injury was related to the last one.

"They lie real close to each other, but it's a different muscle," Looper said. "I think they both attach to the knob that runs down into the forearm."

Manager Charlie Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee said they learned of Contreras' discomfort when he warmed up during the 43-minute top of the eighth inning Tuesday night at Busch Stadium.

"He was trying to get loose and his arm got sore," Manuel said.

The Phillies promoted lefthanded reliever Juan Perez from triple-A Lehigh Valley to replace Contreras in the bullpen.

"We've been getting good reports on him," Manuel said. "He has a good arm. I think he'll be in the sixth or seventh inning against lefties and that will give us a chance to look at him."

Despite having better overall numbers at triple-A Lehigh Valley where he has been the team’s primary closer this season, lefthander Mike Zagurski had not been as effective as Perez at getting left-handed hitters out.

Through Wednesday, lefthanders were hitting .261 against Zagurski in the International League and only .184 against Perez. The biggest concern with Perez has been his command. He has walked 21 batters in 30 2/3 innings. He also has struck out 41 and he had walked just one batter in his last five appearances.

"He has an excellent arm and a good slider," Looper said. "Command is the issue, but he has good enough stuff to pitch here."




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