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Maybe all the pieces are already in place
Contreras shows once again why Sox may not need trade for another ace
By Scot Gregor | Daily Herald Staff

Chicago White Sox starter Jose Contreras throws during the third inning Wednesday,


Nam Y Huh

Chicago White Sox second baseman Jayson Nix, left, throws to first base after forcing out Cleveland Indians' Shin-soo Choo at second base during the fourth inning Wednesday.


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Published: 7/8/2009 9:47 PM | Updated: 7/9/2009 6:53 AM

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Scott Gregor's game tracker

White Sox 5, Indians 1

Wednesday's grade: Another game against the hapless Indians, another solid A for the Sox.

Dye does damage: Jermaine Dye was 3-for-4 with 3 RBI. Over his last 15 games, the right fielder is batting .429 with 6 doubles and 15 RBI.

Ramirez keeps hitting: Alexei Ramirez (2-for-4, 2 runs scored) has at least 2 hits in four of his last five games.

Rolling along: The White Sox haven't lost a series since June 8-11, against Detroit.

Is it really possible trigger-happy White Sox general manager Kenny Willliams is done trading after acquiring middle reliever Tony Pena from the Arizona Diamondbacks Tuesday night?

Depends on how you look at it.

Power-hitting left fielder Carlos Quentin (sore left foot) is due back soon, most likely after the all-star break, and that could be a huge addition for the Sox.

Continuing his rehab assignment with Class AAA Charlotte on Wednesday, Quentin was 0-for-2 but is hitting .400 (4-for-10) in four games.

And don't forget about Jose Contreras.

Banished to the minor leagues after opening the season at 0-5 with an 8.19 ERA, the 37-year-old starter continued pitching like a new-found ace Wednesday night in the White Sox' 5-1 win over the Indians in front of 26,772 at U.S. Cellular Field.

"Everyone knows what happened the first month," Contreras said through an interpreter. "Everyone knew I'd come back. But I didn't think I'd come back this strong or pitch the way I've been pitching."

Contreras (4-7) sparked the Sox' ninth win in 11 games, pitching 61/3 innings and allowing 1 run on 6 hits. The right-hander also established a season-high with 9 strikeouts.

"I'm very happy because all the work is starting to pay off," Contreras said. "But halfway through the season, I'm happier that the team is winning and that I'm helping in that situation."

The White Sox almost landed San Diego Padres star Jake Peavy in late May, but they are apparently going to stick with Contreras, Mark Buehrle, Gavin Floyd, John Danks and Clayton Richard the rest of the way.

"We were going after Peavy a couple months ago, but all of the rumors about (Toronto's Roy) Halladay are rumors," said Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. "I think (Contreras), it's like making a big trade. That's the way I look at it. That's a big trade for us to have him.

"Since he's got (back) here, stuff's started turning around with the pitching staff. I think everyone is back on track."

Ramon Castro, acquired in a May 30 trade from the New York Mets, has caught all six games since Contreras regained his effectiveness at Class AAA Charlotte.

"It was a great pickup," Contreras said of Castro. "No disrespect to A.J (Pierzynski). I won 17 in a row with A.J. But having Ramon on the team is like a fresh start. The team, as a whole.

"I've shook off Ramon twice, and both times they hit home runs. So I'm not going to shake him off often anymore. Ramon is a great acquisition, a great catcher, and I'm happy to be working with him."