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01/28/10 6:39 PM EST

Phillies bolster bullpen with Contreras

Veteran righty prefers to start, but will 'do what is necessary'

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies promised Chan Ho Park last year that he would have an opportunity to win a job in the rotation.

Jose Contreras has not been promised anything.

Contreras, who signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Phillies on Thursday, will start Spring Training in the rotation, but he's expected to open the season in the bullpen. He went 6-13 with a 4.92 ERA in 28 games (23 starts) last season with the White Sox and Rockies, but he had a 1.23 ERA in five relief appearances with Colorado.

"Our scouts feel that at this stage of his career, he's best suited to being in the bullpen," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "But the fact that he has started for the bulk of his career, that gives us a little bit of depth there, too. This is a player who has already told us that he'll do whatever is best for the club."

It appears the only way Contreras can pitch in the rotation is if Jamie Moyer or Kyle Kendrick cannot grab the fifth spot.

"My preference is to start," Contreras said through his translator, agent Jamie Torres, "but I'll do what is necessary."

The Phillies thought Contreras' stuff was better pitching out of the bullpen, where he could cut loose his fastball.

Contreras said he felt the same way.

"When Colorado told me I was going to the bullpen, I wasn't sure and comfortable, but everything went fine and I felt pretty good," he said.

The Phillies felt the same way about Park's stuff, as the righty pitched much better out of the bullpen.

Time will tell if Contreras enjoys the same success.

Contreras, 38, is 71-63 with a 4.61 ERA in 191 games (175 starts) for the Yankees (2003-04), White Sox (2004-09) and Rockies ('09). In 16 relief appearances, he is 2-1 with a 3.90 ERA.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.