The Cuban right-hander will get another chance to prove he can pitch against Boston when the Chicago White Sox open a three-game series at Fenway Park.
Contreras, signed to a four-year, $32 million deal by the Yankees prior to the 2003 season after defecting from Cuba, never established himself as a consistent starter in New York. Though he seemed to show flashes of brilliance against lesser AL opponents, he always seemed to falter against the Yankees’ top rival.
New York traded Contreras to Chicago at the July 31 trade deadline for right-hander Esteban Loaiza, a move designed to give both starters a fresh start. Contreras has flourished in his new home, pitching the White Sox to victories in each of his first two starts.
“It’s different in New York than here,” Contreras said through a translator. “You are always expected to win, but of course I go here with more peace in my mind. In New York, it’s very high standards. Sometimes they take the losses a little hard. I always pitch the same, but of course it’s New York. It’s a big stage.”
On Sunday, he allowed one run and five hits over eight strong innings, striking out nine and walking one, as the White Sox pulled out a 3-2 win over Cleveland.
“He could have told the batters that the forkball was coming and it wouldn’t have mattered today because he had such great command,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said of Contreras.
However, Contreras will doubtlessly get a stiff challenge at Fenway, where he is 0-3 with a 17.25 ERA in four appearances, including three starts. In five career appearances, including four starts, overall against the Red Sox, Contreras is 0-4 with a 16.43 ERA.
Carl Everett and Ross Gload homered to back six strong innings from Freddy Garcia as the White Sox edged the Kansas City Royals 3-2 on Thursday to win their first series since taking two of three from Detroit from July 23-25.
The Red Sox won the final three games of their four-game series with Tampa Bay, including Thursday’s 6-0 victory. Pedro Martinez struck out 10 in his first shutout in nearly four years as the AL wild card leaders climbed a season-high 13 games above .500.
The Red Sox have won five of six overall.