Throughout the pickup baseball game, players wandered off the field to embrace Contreras, some with tears in their eyes.
"I am really happy to have him back and to see each other again and remember things we did together," Cuban pitcher Pedro Luis Lazo said. "Thank God he can come back now when he wants. We will be seeing each other a lot more now."
Contreras said he would stay in Cuba a little while longer. His mother's health has improved, and she is out of the hospital.
He also wanted to return to the small countryside town where he grew up and was discovered by a baseball scout while working in the fields.
Then he would go back to the United States and continue training with the hopes of playing professional baseball again.
Injuries sidelined Contreras after he played with the Yankees, White Sox and Phillies, but he said he was sure he still had a few more seasons in the majors.
He said he would take the smells, sounds and memories of Cuba back with him.
"Every time I can, I will be here," he said. "This is my country."