Contreras, 39, struggled with injuries last year, and it was expected that the 39-year old reliever would miss the beginning of 2012 as he tries to get ready to pitch. Stutes was overworked down the stretch last season, and has been struggling with shoulder soreness that has limited him in spring training.
Contreras is entering his third season as a reliever on the Phillies. He was 6-4 with a 3.34 ERA and four saves in four chances in 2010, pitching 56.2 innings. Contreras was injured for most of 2011, throwing just 14 innings. He saved five games in five chances and posted a 3.86 ERA with a 8.4 K/9 rate.
Contreras was the only Phillies reliever signed through 2012, and his contract is set to pay him $2.5 million for this season. There is a team option for the 2013 season, and the Phillies can choose to pay Contreras either $2.5 million or they can exercise a $500K buyout.
Contreras is coming back from right elbow surgery. Since he hasn’t officially pitched in a Grapefruit League game since March 25, Contreras can be activated from the DL on April 10. Meanwhile, Stutes – who was shut down last week – will take some time to heal his shoulder, as he is expected to play a pivotal role in the 2012 Phillies bullpen.
That means the only Phillies relievers that are locks to make the Opening Day roster are Antonio Bastardo, Jonathan Papelbon, Chad Qualls, and Kyle Kendrick. David Herndon, Joe Savery, Michael Schwimer, and Raul Valdes will be in the discussion with the injuries looming to both Contreras and Stutes.