Tonight Could Be Jose Contreras' Last Stand

Subpar outing tonight may cost him his job

Ozzie Guillen and the White Sox have already shown that they're willing to change things up if they don't like what they see this season.  All anyone has to do is look at the case of Jerry Owens, who came into camp this spring as the favorite to win the centerfield job and now isn't even a member of the team after being released and signing with the Mariners.  

Even though the Sox have lost two centerfielders to injury in Brian Anderson and Dewayne Wise, the team opted for Scott Podsednik instead of Owens.

More recently there's been the benching of Alexei Ramirez who is struggling at the plate and is letting it affect his play everywhere else.  Jayson Nix got the start for Ramirez on Thursday night, and he'll be back in the lineup at shortstop on Friday night.

There's also somebody else on the team who may be pitching for his job on Friday night against the Texas Rangers.  After his performance against the same Rangers lineup he'll see tonight last weekend, Guillen said that Jose Contreras would get one more shot to prove he belongs in the starting rotation.  That last chance was supposed to be on Thursday night, but Contreras got a one day stay of execution thanks to Wednesday night's rainout.

Now Guillen hasn't talked about this being Contreras' last chance much since originally saying it, nor has he defined what he wants to see out of his starting pitcher, so who knows if it still stands or what he has to do.  There was some talk about the Sox seeking free agent help earlier this week, but nothing but rumor and speculation has come out of that, no actual talks.

It's also hard to believe that the Sox really feel comfortable with any of their in-house options.  Lance Broadway and Jack Egbert are possibilities, though neither instill that much confidence.  There's the option of bringing Clayton Richard out of the bullpen, but that would leave the pen short of a long reliever, and given the way Richard's pitched lately he's not likely to be that much of an improvement right now.

There's also former first-round pick Aaron Poreda, who has a very nice 95+ fastball but no other pitch to go with it and control problems, so he's just not ready for the job.

So even if Contreras has a horrible night tonight there's a chance he'll be back on the mound in five more days.  Whether the Sox or their fans like it or not, they really just don't have any other option at the moment.

Along with writing for, Tom Fornelli can also be found contributing at FanHouse, SPORTSbyBROOKS, and his own Chicago sports blog Foul Balls.

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