Jose Contreras to undergo exploratory elbow surgery

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Jose Contreras won’t pitch again this season, as the Phillies announced that the veteran reliever will undergo exploratory elbow surgery.

His return timetable depends on what doctors find once he’s under the knife, but even a minor surgery would make Contreras a question mark heading into next season at age 40.

He pitched well enough last season that the Phillies gave Contreras a two-year, $5.5 million deal, but he broke down after just 14 innings this season and hasn’t pitched since June 19.

Contreras is under contract for $2.5 million in 2012 with a $2.5 million option or $500,000 buyout for 2013.