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News » Philadelphia Phillies Inside Pitch 2009-04-10


Philadelphia Phillies Inside Pitch 2009-04-10


Philadelphia Phillies Inside Pitch 2009-04-10
Cole Hamels stood in front of his locker last Sunday, before the Phillies raised the curtain on the 2009 season and hoisted the 2008 World Series championship banner, and expressed no disappointment that he was unable to start the season opener.

"I'd rather have my health," he said.

For the past month, Hamels has had the most scrutinized left elbow in the Delaware Valley. He felt persistent, lingering stiffness for about three weeks in spring training, so he returned to Philadelphia last month and underwent an MRI exam that didn't reveal damage to the ligaments or tendons. He received an anti-inflammatory injection March 17 and insists the discomfort has disappeared.

Surely, though, team officials still will be holding their breath as Hamels takes the mound Friday at Coors Field for the opener of a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies. Even manager Charlie Manuel said he's anxious to see how Hamels responds to the thin mountain air and forecasted temperature in the upper 40s.

But after overseeing Hamels' bullpen session Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park, pitching coach Rich Dubee believes his ace will be just OK.

"Physically, I think he's fine," Dubee said. "We ran the MRI and all the tests, and we felt very good about the doctor's evaluation. Cole is feeling much better than he felt a month ago. He's definitely headed in the right direction."

His last spring training start left some questions, though. Facing the Tampa Bay Rays last Saturday, Hamels yielded six runs in six innings, threw 83 pitches and still didn't exhibit his usual velocity. His fastball maxed out in the high 80s but mostly sat in the mid 80s.

Once again, Dubee isn't worried.

"You don't really see velocity until May," Dubee said. "That's true with most guys. Look at (Yankees left-hander) CC (Sabathia) the other day. Cole hasn't been a good spring training guy. He wouldn't make our team out of spring. But he's always ready when the time comes.

"He's a guy that likes a third deck and big lights. He proved that during his first couple of years and the playoff run that he had (last year). The public had concern (about Hamels) last year. The public had concern two years ago. That's the job of the public, to be concerned."


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 10, 2009

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