Baseball is a lonely game. But for Yankee pichter Jose Contreras, the loneliness he has experienced since leaving his family behind in Cuba has been nothing short of devastating. The Yankee starters lined-up for the first time in spring training, and there are several stories on the soporific Cuban in the local papers today. Contreras told Tyler Kepner in The Times:
"When you have a bad day and go home to your wife and, in my case, daughters, that helps you a lot and takes your mind off of it a little bit," said Contreras, 32, who has been married almost 16 years. "But now, if I have a bad day, I go home and I'm by myself. I really have no choice but to think about it. There's no one to distract me or take attention off of my work."
The Yankees are interested in bringing another Cuban pitcher, Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez to the Yankees, ostensibly to help ease Contreras' mind as well as to serve as a spot-starter. But El Duque, who received political support in getting his family to the States, is remaining true to his obstinate form, and turned down the Yankees' initial offer. Hernandez is being pursued by several teams, including--would you believe?--the Boston Red Sox.