On Wendesday morning, conspiracy theorists saw the A.J. Burnett signing come across their twitter timeline less than an hour after reading Cole Hamels would be slowed this spring after battling biceps tendinitis and figured they had to be related.
"Don't look here - look over here instead!"
Perhaps the two storylines were related, but the reality on Wednesday was that the news of Hamels' slow progression this winter was overshadowed by the front office's willingness to increase the payroll to a new franchise record by allotting $16 million to Burnett.
So, what about Hamels?
The pitcher said he wouldn't be able to make his second straight Opening Day start after battling soreness when rebooting his throwing program in November. But he's also confident he'll be in the rotation in early April.
Amaro's concern? The GM was asked to rate it on the scale of 1-through-10 on Thursday morning.
"Two," Amaro said.
"He had a little bit of tendinitis," Amaro said. "We were just very cautious with him in November, December. We spoke about it, I talked to the trainers and (head athletic trainer Scott) Sheridan and Dr. (Michael) Ciccotti. We’re just being cautious with him. I know he said yesterday that he’s not going to be ready for Opening Day. The reason why he said that was because we don’t want to push him. We want to make sure he’s ready to go physically before we get him on the mound in Philadelphia or wherever he may start."
Hamels said he's healthy and pain-free now. He's just behind schedule in terms of developing the stamina it takes to throw lengthy bullpen sessions.
He expects to throw a bullpen session in the next 7-9 days. Since the regular season doesn't start for almost 7 weeks, he could easily have time to catch up to the rest of the pitchers, barring a setback.
Hamels also seemed unconcerned overall with the ailment, saying it wasn't even a big enough deal to require an MRI. Yes, the pitcher the Phillies guaranteed $144 million did not have an MRI on an arm ailing him this winter.
"It wasn’t at a pain level I guess or at an unknown where, hey, this is an area i’m unfamiliar with," Hamels said of not having an MRI. " I think thats what Ciccotti felt too. All of the tests they did and my responses were 100 percent right to that area and to their diagnosis, which I felt really comfortable with what he diagnosed and what I thought, because it’s gone away. Ultimately that’s what it is."
Hamels is playing catch without pain. He is not worried, nor is his general manager.
But it's still a storyline as important as any other this spring, and worth keeping a very close eye on as he progresses through camp in the next month.
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