The Pittsburgh Pirates released Jose Contreras last week, but have signed him back to a minor league deal, according to an Indianapolis Indians press release. Contreras was given his outright release to clear a spot on the 40-man roster. After the release, Neal Huntington noted that he might have needed more time in Triple-A to rehab his arm after an elbow injury last year.
Contreras will serve as bullpen depth out of Triple-A, although because of the release last week, and the minor league deal this week, he won’t take up a spot on the 40-man roster. He only made four appearances with Indianapolis last time around, which was also on a minor league assignment. At the time the Pirates had to make a decision to add Contreras to the active roster, or pay a retention bonus to keep him. They opted to add him to the majors and give him a shot out of the bullpen. He gave up five earned runs on seven hits and six walks in five innings.
Even if Contreras doesn’t pitch in the majors, he should help the Indianapolis pitching staff, which is extremely depleted due to all of the injuries and promotions at the major league level.