BOSTON – And just like that, the Jose Contreras Era came to an end on Monday.
Sure, he’ll make an occasional appearance out of the bullpen, but his days as a starter for the Sox are now over with the free agent to be.
“It’s something you keep pushing and hoping for him but nothing works,” manager Ozzie Guillen said after the 12-8 loss to the Red Sox. “Jose is going to be in the bullpen and I don’t know who is starting in his spot [Saturday]. We are in the position right now where we can’t continue to handle guys and hope they get it done. I think enough is enough.
“I feel for him, but our job is to win games and not to do people favors. We cannot handle this anymore.”
Not only did Contreras allow a six-run rally by the Red Sox, but the way he did it sealed his fate.
And just in case the third inning didn’t, what occurred about 1,078 miles away in Lawrenceville, Ga., undoubtedly did. Ace pitcher Jake Peavy made his third rehab start for Class AAA Charlotte, throwing five scoreless innings, and the talk was he could have a change of heart that he would need a fourth.
Pitching coach Don Cooper didn’t want to go there just yet.
“If he says he’s ready to give us five, six or seven [innings], that may be enough in [the mind of GM Ken Williams],” Cooper said. “If [Peavy] can’t say that, we’ll have to go somewhere else and wait another start for him to be ready. To have to quicken his process because we fumbled the ball [Monday], two wrongs don’t make a right. Peavy will be here when he says the time is right for him. Until I hear it out of his mouth, I’m not going to go with it.”
The fact is, with all that is on the line for the Sox (63-62) this season, there was no way they could continue to send Contreras back out there, 1-5 in his last eight starts with a 6.16 ERA.
“We’ll find out more [Tuesday],” Cooper said. “Obviously, we’ve taken Jose out. Our options our Peavy, [Daniel] Hudson, [Carlos] Torres, and they’re all lined up for it. Who gets the nod? It’s going to be up to Kenny. Whoever it is, is fine with me.”
Told that Peavy had a solid outing Monday and hinted he might be ready for the Yankees on Saturday, Guillen said, “Good for Peavy. I don’t make that decision. I just say I need another pitcher. That’s Kenny’s decision.
“Of course, I want him on the mound as a managing point. There’s no doubt. It’s not my call but if I have Peavy, I would be more than happy. We don’t have any better choice, but in the meanwhile, we have to be careful. I hear He throw the ball well. But whoever is here… ”