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10/03/05 5:13 PM ET

Interview with Jose Contreras

Right-hander discusses ALDS Game 1 start, move to Chicago

How excited are you that you're going to start the first game?

Jose Contreras: I'm excited that we clinched. We're the Central Division champions. This game's a big one. I'm honored that I got to be, you know, picked, in front of these four other starters. In my eyes, they're all aces. I believe that in Game 1, I believe that Game 1 is a huge victory. I'm excited I have that role and feel that I've been preparing myself well enough to be ready.

Did you ever doubt that you would be in this situation?

Contreras: I had no doubt in my mind ever. Even though the first half of the season didn't go as I wished, as everyone expected me to be, you just got to face that you have ups and downs and I'm glad that it's on an up side right now. I hope I can keep it going.

What's the key to pitching against Boston's lineup, and who is the key player in that lineup for you?

Contreras: I think that the key to every Major League team is throwing strikes and getting out batters and attacking. David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon and Renteria are key outs, but especially Ortiz and Ramirez. They can hurt you bad with runners in scoring position because they have an opportunity to hit a home run on every pitch.

But the key is to attack the batters. They're all good offensively, they've showed that. It's going to be a good matchup.

Jose, how have your career and life changed with being traded to Chicago?

Contreras: I was sad and it not only affected my life on the field, but off the field. My family was devastated, so was I. I was scared about what was to come. I felt comfortable in New York. I believed that my fans felt the same way.

I was lucky that I came to Chicago. Right from the get-go I had great teammates, a manager who spoke the language and gave me all the confidence that I needed. It turned out for the better. Here I feel that I'm pitching well and I'm glad that I'm part of this team that everyone gets along so well.

(Inaudible question)

Contreras: I didn't know at the time. I felt any Major League team would sign me, but the Yankees signed me. My dad's a Yankee fan, everyone in Cuba is a Yankees fan.

At the time, I thanked God that the Yankees gave me the opportunity to pitch in the big-league level. I was happy to be a Yankee while I was there, but now I'm with the White Sox. This is my team. That was in the past. We've worked so hard to be where we are right now. This is my team.

Does it strike you at all funny that the Red Sox and the Yankees are two teams that you will now be facing in the playoffs after everything they did to try and get you?

Contreras: That's life and that's baseball. It's part of the game. You don't know where you're going to be tomorrow. That's why you got to be thankful for where you are at the moment. I feel comfortable with the White Sox. Hopefully the team sticks together and they go all the way.

You said a little while ago how lucky it was to have a manager that spoke your language and that you could understand. Tell us, how does your relationship with your manager compare to the ones at Yankee Stadium?

Contreras: I've been honored to play for two great managers. You know, very different, but two great managers.

Maybe when I was in New York, I played for Joe, but the language barrier, I didn't get to know him on a personal level. But with Ozzie, he's my friend on and off the field. We get to talk because we speak the same language. We've become close friends. I think he's a great manager and he's one of the big reasons that I'm here.

Do you have family and friends coming to the game? Did a lot of people ask you for tickets?

Contreras: I have friends coming from Miami. My wife is here right now. My daughters will be here tomorrow. It's a big deal. I'm going to need a lot of tickets. All my friends want to come.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.