BRADENTON, Fla. -- Jose Contreras was in the house this morning, reporting after agreeing to a minor league contract with the Pirates.
Neal Huntington said Contreras had Tommy John ligament replacement surgery, and Contreras said the procedure took place June 24. That would put him roughly on Charlie Morton's timeline, meaning June or so as a potential return date, but Contreras has had problems with the same elbow before. He had surgery to repair the flexor tendon in September 2011.
"If we get Jose Contreras back to the Jose Contreras he's been in the past, it's a very productive major league pitcher," Huntington said. "We'll see where he falls in the bullpen. If he gets back to where he was, he could be a very productive member of our bullpen."
Contreras said he has thrown off a mound three times and has no pain. The Tommy John surgery was the second operation on Contreras' elbow in 10 months.
Contreras recently returned to Cuba after defecting more than 10 years ago. He said he went to see his mother, who had health issues but is doing better now.
"I have no regrets," Contreras said in Spanish, with Heberto Andrade translating. "It was one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life. It was tough because the first year that I got here, I lost my dad. The funeral was by phone."
Update 11:50 a.m.: Russell Martin said he will not play for team Canada in the World Baseball Classic due to objections to him playing shortstop from both team Canada and the Pirates.
"I wanted to be able to play in the WBC if I could play shortstop and have fun, and that's as simple as it gets," Martin said. "If they didn't want me to play shortstop, I knew I wasn't going to have that much fun going to the WBC, so I'll stay here and it makes sense because I get to stay here with the guys."
Martin said opting out of the tournament will help him learn his new pitching staff more quickly.
"It wasn't that hard of a decision," he said. "There's the feeling of, I might be letting my teammates down, my Canadian teammates, but that's something I'm sure I'll get over."
Game: Braves (0-2) at Pirates (1-0)
Time: 1:05 p.m.
Site: McKechnie Field
Radio: KDKA-AM 1020
Weather: 80 with thunderstorms
1. Johnson 8
2. Heyward 9
3. J. Upton 7
4. Francisco 5
5. B. Upton DH
6. DeWitt 4
7. Laird 2
8. Mejia 3
9. Pena 6
Scheduled to pitch for the Braves: Sean Gilmartin, Jonny Venters, David Carpenter, David Hale and Juan Jaime.
1. Marte 7
2. Martin 2
3. McCutchen 8
4. Alvarez 5
5. Walker 4
6. G. Sanchez 3
7. Inge DH
8. Tabata 9
9. Barmes 6
Scheduled to pitch: Jonathan Sanchez, Tony Watson, Justin Wilson, Jason Grilli, Mark Melancon, Jared Hughes Ryan Reid. Melancon was again on the official lineup card as pitching today but was again not listed in the game notes. Hands are sarcastically being thrown in the air in confusion as we speak.
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