Fired-up Manuel defends his use of Contreras


Monday, April 25, 2011
Posted: 9 p.m.

By Jim Salisbury

PHOENIXA day after closer Jose Contreras went on the disabled list with an elbow strain, fired-up Phillies manager Charlie Manuel defended his use of his bullpen before Monday nights game against Arizona.

Theres no way in hell we overused Contreras, Manuel huffed.

That answer came after Manuel was asked whether he believed that he had the personnel to avoid using the 39-year-old right-hander, who landed on the DL after throwing 81 pitches in five appearances over seven days.

Do I feel like I had the personnel? Manuel repeated. I feel like, first of all, theres no way in hell we overused Contreras. Thats how I feel. Theres no way. What did he pitch? The most consecutive games was three. Then he had a day off. He pitched five times in seven days. We werent trying to stay away from him. He was closing games. Thats how I look at it.

On Sunday, in announcing that Contreras was headed to the DL, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. pointed out that Contreras had been pitching quite a bit. On Monday, Amaro said that wasnt a criticism of Manuel. The GM went on to defend Manuels use of the bullpen.

Manuel was asked about Amaros original contention that Contreras had been pitching quite a bit.

I don't think he had been used a lot, really, Manuel said. What's today? April 25? It's April 25 and I already hear our guys need days off. Guys need this. Guys need that. I've been listening to that for about four or five years now. The object of it is, like I tell our guys in the meetings, the brass, the object is for us to win the game. Every day we come to the ballpark, that's the object, to win the game. Now do you want to win or do you want to lose?

To me, I want to win so I'll put the best team I possibly can on the field that day. I'll give you days off when I think so. That's part of my job, too. If I'm going to be accountable for my job then you let me do the whole thing. You basically let me do my whole job. I don't need nobody to tell me what to do and how to do it. It's up to me to do it. That's how I look at it. If you want to talk about it and say something about it, that's fine, too.

Manuel was asked if anyone in the organization had said anything to him about his handling of his pitchers.

Thats none of your business, he said.

Several minutes later, Manuel said he hears about his handling of pitchers all over the place.

I hear it all the time, he said. I hear it from you guys. From everybody. From everybody around the ballpark.

We still have to play the game the right way. Over the years I get tired of hearing people say, We want him healthy in October. October is a long ways off. Its April 25. A lot of times, hell, theres a lot of people that arent going to make October.

A reporter from told Manuel such critiques were the nature of the game.

That doesnt mean you have to like the nature of the game, Manuel said. I dont think I look like a nature boy.

Thirty minutes after Manuels pregame session with reporters, Amaro summoned reporters to give an update on Contreras, who was examined in Philadelphia on Monday. Contreras has a strained flexor pronator tendon in his right elbow. His symptoms were improved on Monday, but he will have an MRI on Tuesday.

Amaro was asked if he believed whether Contreras had been overused.

Absolutely not, he said. Guys get sore. Its part of the game of baseball and part of sport. A week ago people were asking, When are you going to get him in a game? Youre damned if you do and damned if you dont. All I can tell you is he wasnt overused.

Amaro was then asked how he thoughtManuel was doingbalancing the now with making sure the pitching staff had enough bullets for October.

Obviously we want to keep them healthy for October, but October is not that big of a concern, Amaro said. You cant get there if you dont win in April, May, June, July, August and September.

Charlie is doing a great job with our guys. I have no issue at all with how hes using guys. I dont understand whos coming up with this stuff but whoever it isthey are clueless. I will tell you that.

E-mail Jim Salisbury at

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