Cole Hamels was removed from the game in the middle of the third inning.
He had allowed 8 runs. He had allowed 12 hits. They were all hit hard.
But it’s March 5 and it was an exhibition game. And Cole Hamels was hardly concerned.
Someone put the “training” in spring training for a reason: it’s a 7-week prep course for the regular season.
“I can’t get off my game plan, because, thank goodness, it doesn’t count,” Hamels said after his abbreviated start against the Dominican Republic’s All-Star laden World Baseball Classic lineup. “So, that’s the situation where I have a game plan of what I’m trying to execute today, no matter what their game plan is. So if it hits at the wrong time, which a lot of the pitches did, obviously it’s not going to look good.”
Hamels, for instance, would normally have a strict game plan for how he is going to attack a Jose Reyes or a Hanley Ramirez in a regular game. But in spring training, he’s not focusing on the batter: he’s focusing on himself.
“I think I only threw 4 pitches to Hanley and they were all fastballs,” Hamels said. “So that’s a little bit different than from what I’d normally do.”
In the end, Hamels realized something he’s known for a while: he would be useless on an American World Baseball Classic roster. He spends February and March getting himself ready for April.
He’s never ready the first week of March.
“I know I’m not going to be any help to that team,” Hamels said. “I don’t want to cost a team a game whether it’s a USA emblem or a Phillies emblem on your chest. Thank goodness it doesn’t count now.”