CLEARWATER, Fla. Five days before the season opener, the makeup of the Phillies bullpen is still up in the air.
General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Saturday that righthander Jose Contreras will probably start on the disabled list as he continues to recover from elbow surgery last September. Amaro cautioned that Contreras was doing well, but needed more time. Specifically, he needs to pitch consecutive days before the Phillies turn him loose.
Contreras will stay in Florida when the team heads north on Sunday and he will pitch in minor-league games. He could come off the disabled list on April 10, when the season will be just four games old.
Its also possible that righthander Mike Stutes, who has been dealing with shoulder inflammation, could start on the DL. Stutes has been playing catch and the Phils hope to see him in a minor-league game in the coming days as they determine his status for opening day.
With Contreras and Stutes uncertain, the Phillies have just four relievers who are locks to make the opening day roster: Closer Jonathan Papelbon, Antonio Bastardo, Chad Qualls and Kyle Kendrick. Joe Blanton could work out of the bullpen for the first week of the season because the Phils dont need a fifth starter until April 15.
Blantons versatility would allow the Phillies to open with six relievers instead of seven. David Herndon, Joe Savery and Raul Valdes are still in big-league camp and up for jobs. The Phils could also make a late acquisition or look to the minors for someone such as Brian Sanches, Phillippe Aumont or Jake Diekman if they need bullpen depth.
Opening day rosters must be filed with the commissioners office by 4 p.m. Wednesday.