Breaking news in Clearwater: Cole Hamels has been named the Opening Day starter for the 2013 season.
Full disclosure: that sentence was typed with tongue firmly set in cheek.
Hamels has been lined up for the start since the Phillies set up their rotation for Grapefruit League games over three weeks ago, when he penciled in to throw in the first exhbition game down here.
The 29-year-old Hamels, the longest-tenured pitcher on the Phillies staff, has never started on Opening Day. He would have in 2009, but a late-spring injury set him back to start the season.
Hamels, a World Series MVP, will take the ball in Atlanta on April 1. By doing so, he'll end Roy Halladay's 10-year run of Opening Day starts, the longest among active pitchers.
Hamels was an All-Star for the second straight season in 2012 while Halladay endured an injury-plagued season.
Hamels also bypassed free agency when he signed a 6-year, $144 million extension with the Phillies seven months ago.