On the same day oft-injured closer Brad Lidge talked about battling a new ailment, a right shoulder injury, Contreras collected his first save of the exhibition season without a problem in the Phillies’ 3-1 win over the Atlanta Braves.
“First, I want to be healthy and second, all I want is to help the team win,” Contreras said through translator and teammate Danys Baez. “I don’t care where or when or what kind of situation. I just wants to help the team win and especially with this situation with Lidge down.”
Whether Contreras is called upon is the big unknown. The Phillies also have a very capable option in Ryan Madson, who has established himself as one of the game’s top shut-down set-up men in the last three seasons.
But with Lidge set to start the season in the disabled list, manager Charlie Manuel will likely name one of his two veteran, right-handed relievers the team’s temporary closer before the season begins in six days.
“We’ll see,” Manuel said. “I don’t have to name one today.”
When Lidge began last season on the DL, and when he had been sidelined in the two previous seasons, Madson was called upon to handle the job. He had somewhat mixed results.
In typical closer situations —– pitching for a save in the ninth inning or later — Madson was 15-for-21 in save opportunities with a 4.84 ERA. But the now-30-year-old thinks he is more mentally prepared.
He credits a sales pitch late last summer from arguably baseball’s best salesman: his agent, Scott Boras.