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News » Philadelphia Phillies Inside Pitch 2009-04-13

Philadelphia Phillies Inside Pitch 2009-04-13

Philadelphia Phillies Inside Pitch 2009-04-13
Ready or not, Cole Hamels will make his next start Thursday, as scheduled, in Washington.

By all accounts, Hamels is healthy. But after being slowed last month by left elbow tightness, the Phillies' ace just isn't as ready as most pitchers to start regular-season games. His fastball velocity is lagging, and his command isn't sharp. It showed Friday when he equaled career-highs by yielding 11 hits and seven earned runs in 3-2/3 innings here against the Colorado Rockies.

But, as manager Charlie Manuel said, the only way Hamels will get up to speed is by pitching. So, after talking to both Hamels and pitching coach Rich Dubee on Saturday, Manuel chose to keep Hamels on schedule to start against the lowly Nationals.

"He has to pitch to get stronger," Manuel said. "He has to get work in, and that's the only way he is going to get strong. That's how you get strong. It's just a matter of him getting work, and the more work he gets, the better off he's going to be."

Initially, Manuel was non-committal about Hamels' next start after Friday's 10-3 loss. But Dubee said he didn't see any reason Hamels shouldn't pitch, and ultimately, Manuel agreed.

One thing appears certain: Hamels is healthy.

Hamels experienced lingering elbow tightness last month between innings of his spring-training starts and bullpen sessions. But an MRI revealed no structural damage, and he received an anti-inflammatory injection March 17. Hamels said he hasn't had any problems since getting the shot, and after a checkered injury history in the minors, he typically reports every twinge in his arm to both Dubee and Manuel.

But Hamels' fastball averaged only about 86 mph Friday against the Rockies. He said his velocity, typically in the low-90s, usually doesn't stabilize until May. This year's early-season dip is nothing out of the ordinary, but if he can command his changeup better than he did against the Rockies, he'll be able to have more success.

"He just needs work," Manuel said. "He didn't have any work. But I've seen him, and he's the kind of guy that can rest for two or three days and he might be feeling good and strong and everything goes for him. I do think it's a matter of getting him work."

PHILLIES 7, ROCKIES 4: Matt Stairs' pinch-hit two-run homer in the ninth inning broke a tie and gave the Phillies a win in the series finale at Coors Field. Chase Utley's two-run homer in the eighth inning tied the game. Relievers Chad Durbin, Scott Eyre, Clay Condrey, Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge combined to allow two hits in 5 2/3 scoreless innings. Lidge extended his regular-season consecutive saves streak to 46. Ryan Howard had three hits for the Phillies, while Utley, Jayson Werth and Pedro Feliz had two hits apiece.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 13, 2009

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