PHOENIX (AP) – Jose Contreras and Bartolo Colon are ready to face hitters.

Both right-handers are scheduled to throw batting practice at Chicago White Sox camp Monday, the next step after each threw 55 pitches in a bullpen session Saturday without any problem.

“It was a very positive day,” pitching coach Don Cooper said.

“We’re more and more excited about their chances to be ready to open the season.”

It was the third bullpen session since Monday for Contreras and Colon.

Without setbacks, they could see Cactus League action in about a week.

Contreras is more than three months ahead of schedule after rupturing his left Achilles’ tendon last August. Colon is coming off offseason surgery to clean up some bone chips in his right elbow.

Contreras was 7-6 with a 4.54 ERA in 20 starts for the White Sox last season.

Colon, the 2005 AL Cy Young Award winner, is 150-97 with a 4.09 ERA and 1,569 strikeouts over 12 seasons with Cleveland (1997-2002), Montreal (2002), the White Sox (2003), Angels (2004-07) and Boston (2008). He returned to the White Sox for a second stint in January when he agreed to a $1 million, one-year contract that could earn him an additional $2 million in performance bonuses.

If Contreras and Colon are ready for opening day, that could fill out the White Sox rotation behind Mark Buehrle, John Danks and Gavin Floyd.

AP-ES-03-07-09 1508EST

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