Jose Contreras has won a World Series. He’s been an All-Star. He’s made more than $67.5 million in his career.
But he’s not ready to call it a career yet, even at age 42. Contreras joined several other hopefuls vying for a spot on the Texas Rangers’ pitching staff on Monday, the first day of workouts for pitchers and catchers.
“Baseball is my life,” Contreras said. “It’s all I’ve known. That’s why I’m here. I want an opportunity to win another championship.”
Contreras could become an intriguing story as camp progresses. He has an impressive track record, although he’s slipped in productivity the past few seasons with injuries.
In 2011, Contreras’ season ended when he landed on the disabled list with a right forearm strain in June and then underwent surgery on his right elbow. He had another injury-plagued season in 2012 that required an additional ligament reconstruction surgery on his right elbow. Last season, he reached the big leagues and made seven relief appearances for the Pirates but dealt with back issues.
But Contreras says he’s healthy now and is willing to compete for any role on the team.
“I thank the Rangers for giving me an opportunity,” Contreras said. “The least I can do is keep going forward and keep trying and help as much as I can.”
Count left-handed reliever Neal Cotts as someone who believes Contreras can win a job on the team. Cotts and Contreras were teammates on the White Sox when they won the World Series in 2005. And Cotts himself has battled back from seemingly out of nowhere after injuries to become an effective big league pitcher again.
“I would get to spring training early and lift when I was with Chicago, and Contreras would be walking off the field, already sweating,” Cotts said. “He was a good example to follow to see what it takes to keep yourself healthy and keep yourself going in this game. I’m not surprised to see him here.”