(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
El Duque was Jose's second pitching coach, always the first to greet him at the end of an inning or end of an outing. It's no coincidence that he was able to master the three-quarters delivery while Duque was by his side. Contreras admits...
"I'm not sure. I'm confident, but my buddy had a big influence on me and helped my confidence level. I'm being very sincere about it. I miss my buddy and it's going to be a big loss for me."
"Mentally, he was an enormous help," Contreras said of El Duque's impact. "He understands who I am.
"He was a big influence on me last year and a big reason I had the success I had. El Duque was like a coach."
Freddy Garcia was the lone Sox pitcher not to report on Friday, but Scott Merkin reports that he had a good excuse. Garcia's car, containing personal papers and his passport, was stolen in Miami.
Bobby Jenks also explained his absences at SoxFest (death in the family) and at the Chicago Auto Show (car accident).
Although the broadcast schedule has yet to be formally announced, it appears that only 161 games will be televised in the Chicago area this year. Once again, the Sox travel for a weekend series in Minnesota during college football season.
The Golden Gophers are scheduled to play Michigan at the HHH Dome on September 30th, though a time hasn't officially been announced. (That usually doesn't happen until about a month beforehand for TV purposes.) Chisox.com, meanwhile, lists the Sox as playing the Twins in the Humpdome at 11 AM that day.
Because FOX has exclusive rights to air MLB games during that time slot, and 11 AM would be too early for their Game of the Week, the game will not be broadcast at all.
First Annual South Side Sox Roadtrip, anyone?