Cole Hamels won’t just miss a start or two when the season commences. The Phillies young lefthanded ace may miss much of April. Hamels, who has been slowed thanks to biceps tendinitis, was scheduled to face live hitters today for the first time this spring.
However, his tired $144 million arm, will be rested instead of tested.
“Everything was on schedule,” Hamels said. “But after the last bullpen (Saturday) my arm was just fatigued out. The muscles weren’t able to fire the way I’m used to.”
There is no pain, according to Hamels.
“I’m just tired,” Hamels said. “I felt good throwing the bullpen. I actually felt great. Things were working. I just pushed it a little hard too quickly. After throwing 35 pitches, my body felt like I threw 1,000 pitches. So now I’m allowing my body to catch up.”
There is no MRI scheduled. Hamels will not receive a cortisone shot. The only prescription for Hamels is rest.
“I think that will do it,” Hamels said. “Right now I have ‘dead arm’ or ‘frozen arm. The shoulder doesn’t want to throw the ball and throw it with the type of strength you need.”
Hamels believes his rigorous spring training regimen followed by the lack of offseason workouts due to the shoulder tendinitis has caused the exhaustion, which ultimately could put a damper on the Phillies season.
“The Phillies need everything to go right,” MLB analyst Dan Plesac said. “If something goes wrong with one of their key players, like Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard or Cliff Lee, that could be big trouble.”
The silver lining for now is that Hamels claims there is no inflammation or pain. Hamels could throw off the mound next week at the earliest.
“I’m not going to push it,” Hamels said. “I want to build this up and be ready for the long haul.”
The best case scenario for the Phillies is that Hamels will be considerably behind the rest of the rotation.
Ryan Howard took the news in stride.
“It could be worse, much worse,” Howard said. “First off, Cole is just tired. He’s not hurt. I would rather him build up the strength in his arm and miss a couple of starts at the beginning of the season rather than him miss the end of the season when we’re making a run at the playoffs. We need Cole. There’s no doubt about it but he’ll be with us. We just don’t know when that will be.”
Phillies search for fifth starter continues
The Phillies are in a quandary since a fifth starter is needed. Ryne Sandberg thought that his team would be able to get by when Hamels was slated to only miss two starts due to off days. But the scenario has changed. Cliff Lee is a virtual lock to start the opening day game in Texas. A.J. Burnett will follow. Kyle Kendrick is now the number three starter and Roberto Hernandez will be in the fourth slot. The fifth starter is a mystery for now. Jonathan Pettibone is hurt. Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, who is pitching for the first time in two years, doesn’t appear ready to start the season in the majors. Ruben Amaro has stressed that Jesse Biddle will start the season in the minors.
“Someone in this organization is going to have to step up,” Kendrick said. “We have arms. It’s just a matter of who it will be.”
Kendrick was plucked from the minors June of 2008 to fill a brief void and has become a valuable starter, who is an innings eater. “I tried to make the most of my opportunity,” Kendrick said. “Maybe one of the kids here will make the most of an opportunity.”
Brad Lidge returns, as instructor
Brad Lidge spurned the opportunity to potentially become part of the Phillies broadcast crew. However, the former Phillies closer is in camp for the next week as a guest instructor.
“It’s great being here,” Lidge said. “It brings back a lot of great memories.”
Lidge, who helped lead the Phillies to a 2008 World Series championship with a perfect 48-48 in save opportunities, is working on his Master’s degree in Roman archeology from the University of Leicester in England.
“That’s where I’m at now,” Lidge said. “I was flattered to possibly be a part of the Phillies broadcast but I’m not ready for that commitment. I’m doing stuff for MLB radio. The great thing about that is that I can do it from home. I can be with my family and work on my degree. And I also have the opportunity to come over here and help the young arms the Phillies have. I’m helping them with game plans and their approach to the game. It’s fun.”