It has been a frustrating last eight months for Jose Contreras.
The 40-year-old reliever is set to have his second surgery since last September to repair a right elbow that has given him problems the last two seasons. It will be the second straight season-ending elbow surgery Contreras will have, this time repairing a torn UCL and flexor pronator tendon in his right elbow.
Contreras injured his elbow right away to start the 7th inning of the Phillies 6-4 win over the Marlins on Friday. After going on the DL late Friday night, Contreras had an MRI this morning to diagnose the problem, thus presenting the Cuban with more bad news.
But the Big Truck won’t let this latest set-back put the finishing touches on his career.
“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.”
On the season, Contreras 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. The slow start was rocky indeed, but Contreras found a groove, making the injury even more frustrating.
Because again it’s his elbow and again that has to be immensely frustrating to Contreras, who’s whole mechanics rely on the motion in his elbow.
Contreras is a conventional pitcher from the wind-up. But when he puts a man on and has to pitch from the stretch, he takes on a whole new motion, resembling a side-armer with his delivery.
The problems started last April for Contreras, who tried numerous times to pitch through the elbow pain during the season. But the problems persisted and his season ended.
“I’m very, very disappointed,” Contreras said. “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.”
The road will again be tough for Contreras, who will be 41 next season. Elbow problems are a thing that hinder pitchers late in their careers when they persist.
Contreras will hope to have one more push in him to keep pitching in the big leagues.