Phillies ace Cole Hamels pitched in a minor league game Tuesday, his first start since experiencing elbow tightness last week.
The World Series MVP threw 3 2/3 scoreless innings against Pittsburgh Pirates minor leaguers at Philadelphia's spring training complex. It was his first appearance in a game since receiving an anti-inflammatory shot in his arm last Tuesday.
"It felt good," Hamels said after his first outing since March 15. "I think it was really just trying to establish feeling each pitch, one at a time, in each inning. And that was kind of the big thing -- how I'd feel in between innings. And I felt great."
Hamels allowed one hit and one walk while striking out five of his 13 batters. The left-hander threw 35 of 48 pitches for strikes.
"Performance-wise, we thought he threw OK," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "It was a pretty positive outing."
Hamels is tentatively scheduled to pitch in a Grapefruit League game Sunday against Boston.
If all goes well, Hamels would pitch again a day or two before Opening Day, meaning he wouldn't be on the mound when the World Series champions open the season April 5 against Atlanta.
"I haven't officially ruled him out, but I don't think he'll be ready," Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said. "He won't be stretched out. It would be a real long shot. From what I got today, it was a positive step. It was pain-free, or tightness-free, I should say. The velocity was a little better, so those were good things."
Dubee's early projection has Hamels making his first regular-season start in the Phillies' fourth game, April 10 at Colorado. While he would love the honor of an opening-day start, Hamels is content with the alternative of not missing a turn in the rotation.
Hopefully he pitches on Friday April 10th as it said in that ESPN article the previous poster posted. I think we all knew he wasn't going to pitch on opening day.
Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said Monday afternoon that Cole Hamels was officially out of the running for an opening-night start this Sunday against the Braves. Instead, he'll pitch in an exhibition game Saturday against Tampa Bay in Philadelphia.
Hamels threw 65 pitches in a minor league spring training game Monday and allowed 10 hits and three runs in four innings. He walked one and struck out five.
"He was fine," Dubee said. "I'm not looking at [how many] base hits he gave up or anything. His command is not there. That's for sure."
Dubee said he asked Hamels to throw more fastballs than he normally would and reported that his fastball was clocked at 85-88 miles per hour. In previous starts this spring, Hamels had raised concerns by topping out in the lower 80s.
"I was very encouraged because I asked him to throw more fastballs," Dubee said. "I'm really not concerned if they hit his fastball. I just want him to get his arm speed and get the feel of his delivery. He's got a ways to go, still. But he threw a lot more fastballs and threw at a lot better velocity."
Hamels -- who got an anti-inflammatory shot in the elbow two weeks ago -- is expected to get his pitch count up to about 85 pitches on Saturday. If all goes well, he could make his first start of the season in Colorado on April 10.
Asked if Hamels could get to where he needed to be with only one more exhibition start, Dubee replied: "Sure ... I think some of the command stuff will come [back] with better focus, when you get him in that [big league] environment. Right now, his body is fresh, and his arm is not quick yet."
IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA Hamels 5.0 6 6 6 1 7 2 9.39
Yeah, he's rusty. I saw him pitch in all but the first inning. He gave up 4 runs in the 1st, which happened to be the first time he pitched in a game in a couple weeks. 3 of those were on a 3 run shot by Carlos Pena, who's been known to mash a few balls. At one point he retired something like 12 or 13 batters in a row. Furthermore look at the line, he had a 7/1 K/BB ratio in 5 IP. The last 2 runs he gave up were in his last inning of work, maybe he was tiring, he's over 80 pitches and remember he hadn't pitched in a game in a couple weeks. Point is don't read too much into him giving up 6 runs, he looked fine other then for a little rust.
I am about to trade D.W for ARod and Hamels, which can make or break my season...
Last I read was an ESPN article by Bulster Olney...I usually don't pay attention to what ESPN writers say about fantasy baseball but this is article on MLB not fantasy baseball...He does have a point...Hamels has seen a huge increase in innings logged over the last 3 seasons:
2006: 132.1 2007: 190 2008: 262.1
Then Buslter talks about how pitchers like Beckett, Schilling, Carpenter and Buerhle were complete wackness the year after their teams won the World Series...I can't agree with Olney on this one because for every winner, there must be a loser, and the losing #1 pitcher in the past world series haven't seen their numbers decline as badly. See Oswalt in 2006, and others...
Anyway, I am just really looking for updates from someone with insight on Hamels because it does seem to be more worrisome than most people predicted!
per Yahoo: "I'm concerned about [his performance], because he was having a hard time locating with his command, putting the ball where he wants to," Manuel said. "You know, Cole Hamels doesn't pitch at 86 miles an hour. He pitches at 88-93. There's a huge difference, and that tells me that he's not quite ready yet" - Charlie Manuel