Contreras sharp again

Phillies pitcher Jose Contreras pitched a scoreless inning Monday for single-A Clearwater. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

The Phillies can activate Jose Contreras from the disabled list Tuesday, and while that is unlikely, the 40-year-old righthander is closer to a return.

He pitched another scoreless inning Monday for single-A Clearwater. He struck out two Tampa Yankees. That marks two spotless outings in a row with four total strikeouts.

Contreras is building arm strength from September elbow surgery. Pitching coach Rich Dubee has said he probably wants to see Contreras pitch on back-to-back days in the minors before his activation.

When he is ready, the Phillies will have to make a decision on who goes. The candidates are Joe Savery and David Herndon, both of whom have options remaining. The decision could come down to how much the team values a second lefthander (Savery) in the bullpen.

Contreras was not the only big-league pitcher rehabbing in Clearwater. Andy Pettitte started for the Tampa Yankees and allowed one run in three innings.

Have a question? Send it to Matt Gelb's Mailbag.