The comeback journey for Jose Contreras is now complete.
It’s awfully difficult for a 41-year old to make the comeback from Tommy John surgery, but beginning Friday night against the Washington Nationals, that’s exactly what the veteran Contreras has done.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have called up the veteran Contreras, who they inked to a minor-league contract in the offseason and have demoted reliever Jared Hughes.
Hughes was very effective for the Pirates last season as a 26-year-old rookie, throwing 76 innings with a 2.85 ERA, but his secondary numbers were much less impressive and he struggled in 14 innings this year, posting a 4.61 ERA and 1.61 WHIP.
Contreras blew out his elbow pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies last season, and while it’s hard to guess how much he has left in the tank, he was a solid setup man for the Phillies, posting a 3.74 ERA with 85 strikeouts in 85 innings from 2010-2012.
The veteran made six minor league appearances while working his way up to the majors and apparently that was enough to convince the Pirates brass that he was ready to contribute to what has been a pretty solid bullpen thus far.
In other Pirates’ roster news, infielder Jordy Mercer is also being called up which could be a sign that Neil Walker could be heading to the disabled list.
Mercer tore the cover off the ball in Indy, hitting for a .333 average, 19 RBI, and 8 extra base hits. He was fourth in the International League with 32 hits and led the Indians in RBI, hits, and average.