Phillies lose Contreras for remainder of year
MRI shows torn ligament, tendon in reliever's pitching elbow
PHILADELPHIA -- It looked like a season-ending injury the moment Jose Contreras dropped to the turf in pain in the seventh inning Friday night at Citizens Bank Park.
It turned out to be just that.
Contreras had a MRI exam Saturday morning and the Phillies said results showed he completely tore the UCL and flexor pronator tendon in his right elbow, ending his season. It is a big blow to a bullpen that had just started pitching better after struggling the first six weeks of the season. Contreras, who said he felt completely healthy before that one fateful pitch, 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.
"I'm very, very disappointed," Contreras said through his translator, Phillies third-base coach Juan Samuel. "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."
Contreras, 40, had flexor pronator surgery in September. The Phillies said they will get a second opinion from orthopedist Lewis Yocum, who performed the surgery.
Contreras said he plans to have surgery and will try to pitch again, although he knows the odds are stacked against him.
"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."
"I feel badly for him," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "He worked pretty hard to get back to the point where he started to be pretty effective. It's a tough piece of news to take."
The injury leaves Jonathan Papelbon, Antonio Bastardo, Chad Qualls, Jake Diekman, Joe Savery, Raul Valdes and Michael Schwimer -- who the Phillies recalled to take Contreras' place -- in the bullpen. The Phillies have relievers Mike Stutes, David Herndon and Justin De Fratus on the DL, leaving them very thin.
Contreras had started to work himself into the setup role, but that might fall to Bastardo now.
"Bastardo's been doing fine," Amaro said.
But Phillies manager Charlie Manuel on Friday expressed his concerns about the team's bullpen depth.
"We need some bullpen pieces," Manuel said. "We need some. We needed some when the game started tonight. And now we need more."
Worley on track to start Monday for Phillies
PHILADELPHIA -- Right-hander Vance Worley is feeling fine and is scheduled to rejoin the Phillies' rotation Monday.
Worley has been on the disabled list since May 12 because of inflammation in his right elbow. But he threw a successful bullpen session Friday and felt fine playing catch Saturday. He will play catch again Sunday.
Assuming nothing crops up then, he will face the Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park on Monday, taking Roy Halladay's spot in the rotation.
Schwimer to take it easy on baseball tweets
PHILADELPHIA -- Michael Schwimer is back, but he said he will be worrying only about his pitching this time around.
The Phils recalled Schwimer from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take injured Jose Contreras' place in the bullpen. Schwimer is 0-1 with an 8.10 ERA in six appearances for the Phillies this season, including a walk in one-third of an inning Saturday. He was 2-1 with a 3.93 ERA and six saves in 18 1/3 innings with Lehigh Valley. He said he knows he has struggled in his few opportunities with the Phillies, but he is hopeful his body of work for the entire season will paint a much different picture.
"I like to be judged on a season's worth of innings," he said. "Did I struggle? Yes, there's no sugar-coating that. But I believe in the law of large numbers and sample size. I feel like if I can do that, then I should be fine."
Schwimer caused a stir in the organization last month when he tweeted three Phillies roster moves before the team had made them official. He congratulated Jake Diekman, Raul Valdes and Hector Luna on their recent promotions, but the problem was the Phillies had not yet told the players who were being demoted (Brian Sanches and Erik Kratz) that they had been sent down.
Schwimer was reprimanded for it.
"I had no idea I was breaking news," he said Saturday morning at Citizens Bank Park. "I thought when you got called up that everybody knew already. It's something I probably should have known, but I wasn't aware of. I got a firm talking to about it, so now I know. It will never happen again. I learned a lesson."
In fact, Schwimer said he will be laying low on social media.
"All that stuff -- Twitter, the blogging -- is pretty much going to come to an end," he said. "I'm still going to have a Twitter account, but I'm not really going to talk much about baseball, because I just feel like the position I'm in, I need to keep a much lower profile. I need to go about my business and just focus on pitching. All that other stuff, tweeting and all that stuff, is going to be limited or stopped. I don't want to ruffle any feathers.
"You can say a lot of things that people take the wrong way. I don't want to put myself in that situation."
Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino returned to the lineup Saturday after receiving a cortisone injection in his right hand Friday. He went 1-for-3 with a walk. Victorino said the hand felt fine, although he acknowledged there was no real improvement. "It's the same," he said. "I was hoping that it would feel better. I've tolerated it for two months, and I'm going to tolerate it the rest of the way. It wasn't a miracle. I can't worry about it. I've just got to let it go."
Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz entered Saturday leading the Majors with a .381 batting average. Elias Sports Bureau said the last Phillies player to lead the National League in batting in June or later was Placido Polanco (.325) on Aug. 17, 2010. Ruiz went 0-for-4 to drop to .371.
The Phillies had no update on Roy Halladay's second opinion with Mets physician David Altchek. Halladay is on the disabled list with a strained latissimus dorsi.
Cole Hamels allowed a pair of home runs to Hanley Ramirez on Saturday. Ramirez is the eighth player to homer twice in a game against Hamels, and the first since Carlos Delgado on Sept. 7, 2008. Others are Jorge Cantu (June 11, 2008), Prince Fielder (April 23, 2008), Carlos Beltran (June 29, 2007), Chipper Jones (May 1, 2007), Adam LaRoche (July 24, 2006) and Julio Lugo (June 16, 2006).
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.