Jose Contreras’ rehab assignment is off to a rough start

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Jose Contreras took a big step in his recovery from elbow surgery yesterday when he appeared in a minor-league game, but his Single-A outing lasted only 11 pitches and was full of control problems.

Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Contreras threw four strikes and seven balls, including two wild pitches, and allowed three runs while recording just one out. In other words, he was a mess.

General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. predictably downplayed the ugly outing, saying:

He’s perfectly fine. He’s going through the process of a rehab. Somebody booted a ground ball behind him that was ruled a hit and his location wasn’t great, but he’s perfectly fine physically. He had poor location and got beat up, but that’s why he’s rehabbing.

Fair enough, and certainly Contreras will have plenty of time to get on track before the Phillies consider activating him from the disabled list, but the 40-year-old right-hander also got knocked around for a 19.29 ERA in spring training. Right now he’s a $2.5 million question mark.

Justin Verlander earns 200th career win

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Astros starter Justin Verlander wasn’t his usual dominant self on Sunday against the Athletics, but he was good enough to get the win. In doing so, he earned the 200th win of his career, becoming the 117th member of the 200-win club.

Verlander went 5 1/3 innings, yielding four runs (all earned) on seven hits and a walk with six strikeouts. On the season, Verlander is now 12-8 with a 2.65 ERA and a 223/29 K/BB ratio in 169 2/3 innings. Sunday’s win helped the Astros stave off the surging A’s. The Astros now have a one-game lead in the AL West.

Only two active pitchers have more wins than Verlander: Bartolo Colon (247) and CC Sabathia (244). Zack Greinke will likely be the next member of the 200-win club as he currently has 184 to his name.