Contreras joins the mix on Phils staff

The Phillies have talked about finding a pitcher who could possibly work as a starter or reliever. John Smoltz was one option, but not the one the Phillies decided to go with. Instead, Jose Contreras will get a shot at joining the Phillies pitching staff.

When Chan Ho Park joined the Phillies last season, he wanted to be a starter and in fact, won the fifth spot in the rotation to start the season. From there though, he wound up being demoted to the bullpen and having a fairly productive season for the Phillies in a relief role.

This season's Chan Ho Park will be Jose Contreras. Unlike Park, Contreras isn't nearly as familiar with pitching in relief, but also unlike Park, Contreras is very open to the idea.

Contreras, 38, will sign a one-year deal with the Phillies following a physical that will likely take place next week. It's possible that Contreras could win the fifth spot in the rotation, but he figures to have to beat out Jamie Moyer, Kyle Kendrick and possibly, Andrew Carpenter if he's going to get that job.

Instead, Contreras will likely pitch in relief for the Phillies, as he did five times late last season for Colorado as the Rockies made their push toward the post-season. In five relief appearances for Colorado last September, Contreras was 0-0 with a 1.23 ERA and had seven strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings of work. He also made two key starts for Colorado in September.

Contreras started last season with the Chicago White Sox and pitched for them through August before being dealt to the Rockies on August 31st for minor league player Brandon Hynick and cash. With the White Sox, Contreras was 5-13 with a 5.42 ERA in 21 starts.

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