The White Sox will start

Jose Contreras

on three days' rest against the Cubs today. The Sox had considered bringing up former Phillie

Gavin Floyd

for the start but opted for Contreras instead. Floyd has recently been bothered by a blister on his pitching hand. He is scheduled to pitch today for triple-A Charlotte, where he is 1-2 with a 3.74 ERA in six starts. . . .

The White Sox have struggled offensively. They entered Friday hitting just .222 with a .302 on-base percentage and 141 runs, all American League lows. They should get a boost when Jim Thome returns from the disabled list tomorrow. Thome went down with a strained rib cage on April 28. At the time, he was first in the AL in on-base percentage (.553), fourth in slugging (.680) and sixth in batting average (.340). . . .

If the Diamondbacks' rotation holds up, Randy Johnson will pitch May 30 in Philadelphia. . . .

On Thursday, commissioner Bud Selig once again declined to say whether he would be present when Barry Bonds hits his 756th homer. It's no secret that Bud would rather eat his shoe than be in attendance when Bonds breaks Hank Aaron's record. Attention on Bonds will be magnified next week when he and the Giants go to New York for a series against the Mets, followed by four games in Philadelphia June 1-4. . . .

A couple of significant comeback trails will wind through New Jersey on Wednesday. Phillies slugger Ryan Howard will play the first of two minor-league rehab games at single-A Lakewood, while Roger Clemens, working his way back to the Yankees' rotation, will pitch for double-A Trenton. The game in Lakewood begins at 11:05 a.m. Clemens will pitch in Trenton at 7:05. Howard, on the disabled list with a quadriceps injury, will also play in Lakewood on Thursday night. . . .

Johnny Estrada would have welcomed a trade back to Philadelphia last winter, which is surprising considering some of the things he said in Friday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Estrada painted an unhappy picture of his rookie season with the Phils in 2001. He played in 80 games in place of injured Mike Lieberthal, and his game-calling was criticized by then-manager Larry Bowa. "I don't have any good memories of my rookie season," Estrada said. "There are a lot of bad memories. I was a 24-year-old rookie pretty much straight out of double A, and things were rough. There was a lot of turmoil in our clubhouse, and it was a hostile environment to play in. Every year since then I've come back here and been able to play well, it's always kind of a little redemption." . . .

The Tigers are on the prowl for a first baseman who can produce offensively. Sean Casey, who was hitting .221 with no homers and six RBIs in his first 38 games, isn't getting it done.