Why Contreras is headed for minors

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Jose Contreras is not scheduled to pitch in another Grapefruit League game. Instead, he'll pitch in a minor-league game Wednesday, Saturday and then next Tuesday.

Why the switch for a guy the Phillies want a close look at? Well, major-league rules dictate the earliest a club may backdate a placement on the 15-day disabled list is Monday, March 26. Contreras last pitched in a Grapefruit League game Sunday (the 25th).

The Phillies are fairly confident Contreras will be ready for opening day April 5, but are aware he may require a few more days to build arm strength. So rather than keep resetting his disabled list clock, they will prevent him from facing big-league hitters.

This way, if Contreras must start the season on the DL, he can be activated April 10. He'd only miss four regular-season games if that were the case.

Either way, expect Contreras to be a factor early in the season.

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