Contreras to start Friday, then Colon
Guillen pleased with tandem's performance in spring finale
CHICAGO -- Jose Contreras will start Friday's series opener at home against Minnesota and be followed in the rotation Saturday by Bartolo Colon, as announced by White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen prior to Tuesday's season debut for the team.
This particular alignment leaves Contreras as the White Sox fourth starter and Colon rounding out the front five. Guillen wasn't as worried about the order, as much as having a healthy Contreras and Colon on the mound.
"It was just better that way, with [Mark] Buehrle behind Colon and [John] Danks in front of Contreras," said Guillen, explaining the thought process behind his decision. "If they throw the way they threw the last outing against Arizona, it will be good."
Contreras and Colon combined to shut out Arizona at Chase Field on Saturday afternoon, marking the final exhibition contest for the White Sox. Colon fanned six and gave up three hits over five innings, while Contreras started and allowed one hit in four innings.
Saturday's contest had a little bit more of a Major League atmosphere in comparison to Cactus League contests, where the tandem had been roughed up as recently as last Monday against the Angels. But their combined performance gave the White Sox confidence that this tandem would be productive as long as they were healthy.
"They've got to work, but I believe they're going to be healthy all year long," said Guillen, who doesn't plan to skip any starters, even if an off-day gives him the chance.
"Bartolo and Jose's last outing, I think they turned it up a notch. That was very encouraging," White Sox general manager Ken Williams said. "They are still in what would amount to their fourth week of Spring Training, so there are going to be a couple of starts where they are going to have to grow and get their pitch counts up and you may see Ozzie go out there a little earlier than normal. They are going to grow into a major force on this team. They are not the average four or five guys in a rotation."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.