The Mysterious Mr. Hamels

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I know how colleague Paul Hagen feels this morning. Hagen is the smartest baseball guy I know. He saw that Cole Hamels wasn't throwing hard this spring. He talked to scouts who told him that Hamels wasn't throwing hard this spring. He watched Hamels, talked to Hamels, talked to other people, and they all insisted that there was nothing to see here, that it happens every spring. And that's the way he wrote it, straight as always -- here are the whispers, here is the explanation, the guy says there is no problem.

And now Hamels is heading north to see the doctor.

Unlike Hagen, I am not the smartest baseball guy I know. I am not the hundredth smartest baseball guy I know. But in the middle of August of 2007, it was starting to get late and this was Hamels' first long run as a major-league starter. So he pitched one night in Washington -- 6 2/3 innings of shutout baseball -- and I got talking to him afterward about his physical conditioning and how his arm was feeling and he laid it on really thick, how everything was swell, how he had experienced nothing more than the normal aches and pains of a long season and how he was ready for a healthy and strong stretch run. Again, he laid it on thick and I was his willing accomplice.

Before his next start, he was on the disabled list.

This might be nothing -- although breaths will be held collectively for a day or so among the faithful. The point, I guess, is that with Hamels, you never know.

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