Bull(pen)ish on Contreras

Right-hander Jose Contreras, who joined the Rockies in an Aug. 31 trade to help the starting rotation, has looked good enough in two relief appearances to get manager Jim Tracy thinking.

Tracy used Contreras on Friday and Saturday against the Cardinals. Other than a Ryan Ludwick home run during Friday’s 2-1 Rockies victory, Contreras has been stellar. His fastball is traveling at around 95 mph — faster than when he starts.

Tracy has no intention of using him on Sunday, and he must have him available for possible multiple innings Thursday when Aaron Cook makes his second start since returning from a shoulder injury.

The use of Contreras must make sense. For example, Tracy is using him to start innings rather than having him jump into tight situations. But having an arm like that in the bullpen could be a boon to the Rockies in the postseason, provided they hold off the charging Braves.

Tracy said relief pitching could be a part of Contreras’ future, if he is interested.

“He was throwing the ball as hard, maybe harder, last night as the night before,” Tracy said. “This is a strong man. Can he handle doing something like that [beyond this season]? That’s a conversation for down the road.

“But we’re at a point of the season where you use your resources, whatever makes sense. What we’ve seen the last couple of nights makes sense. If that makes us as good as we can possibly be in the postseason, we’ll entertain it.

“The next conversation is over the long haul, is he comfortable with something like that? Would he entertain an idea like that? Would he dismiss it and say, ‘I want to start. I’m a starting pitcher.’ You have to have a respect factor for a man of his stature. This is not his first or second year in professional baseball.”


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