Manuel downplays concern about Hamels injury

Pitcher Cole Hamels retired 16 consecutive batters in the Phillies' 9-1 win over the Marlins. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

UPDATE: 11:20 p.m.

Charlie Manuel just wrapped up his press conference, and the Phillies manager does not seem to be too concerned about Hamels, who left the team's 9-1 win over the Marlins with a back injury.

The official word from the club is "tightness in the middle back." Manuel described it as a knot, and repeatedly downplayed his concern about it.

"He got stiff," Manuel said. "The wind was blowing, it was cool, he was sitting there (in the dugout) for awhile. We'll know more tomorrow. I don't think it's serious."

Hamels has yet to address the media.

Manuel said Hamels mentioned something in the dugout about being stiff before taking the mound for the eighth inning. He faced one batter in that frame, walking Wes Helms, before Carlos Ruiz visited with him and motioned for the trainer.

"He kind of had a knot in his back," Manuel said. "He should be fine."


You watched it again, and again, and again, straining to catch some perceptible sign of discomfort. Cole Hamels delivers ball four in the dirt, catches the return throw from Carlos Ruiz, then walks back toward the pitcher's mound and wraps his fingers around the seam, a stoic expression on his face.

He did not throw another pitch. Ruiz, sensing something amiss, trotted out to the mound and listened as his pitcher spoke to him through the webbing of a baseball glove. The veteran catcher turned toward the home dugout and beckoned for the trainer.

There was no wincing, no shaking of the arm, no visible sign of pain. That would appear to qualify as good news.

The diagnosis: tightness in the middle of his back.

Everything else is unknown at this point. Hamels allowed a run in the first inning last night, but retired 16 consecutive batters and did not allow another run. He left the game after walking Wes Helms to start the eighth inning.

Hamels next scheduled start is Sunday in Seattle. No other Phillies will be on normal rest.

More as we get it.

Download our NEW iPhone/Android app for easy access to all of our Phillies coverage, plus app-exclusive videos and analysis. Get it here.