Hamels could miss Opening Day

Cole Hamels returned to Philly from Clearwater after experiencing tightness in his pitching elbow. The injury is to be evaluated by the team's doctor today. (Eric Mencher / Staff Photographer)


An MRI revealed no structural damage to Cole Hamels' left elbow.

"Overall," general manager Ruben Amaro said. "This is good news."

But it sounds like a very real possibility that the Phillies' ace could miss his Opening Day start. He received a shot in an attempt to flush out some inflammation that remains in his elbow. Neither Amaro nor head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan would speculate about a cause. Hamels will take today and tomorrow off from throwing, then will begin long tossing on Thursday. But it is too early to tell when Hamels might get back on the mound, and, when he does, how much the time off will set him back.

"It's not like he's starting back a throwing program altogether," Sheridan said. "If the throwing goes well, obviously he'll get some mound work, a bullpen or something like that, and then we'll worry about games and schedule and all that kind of stuff."

While neither Sheridan nor Amaro would rule out an Opening Day return, both admitted it was a possibility.

"He'll start when he's ready to start," Amaro said. "He'll start for the Phillies at the major league level when he's ready to start. If it's Opening Day, it's Opening Day. If it's sometime beyond that, then that's what it will be. "

More soon.


Chase Utley is back in the line-up, and he is leading off again. Utley played five innings at short stop and went 0-for-2 in a Grapefruit League game Sunday. I'm interested to see how much he plays today, but it appears he is progressing steadily. Utley is scheduled to make the four-hour trip to Jupiter on Wednesday for games against the Cardinals and Marlins, which will mark his first road trip of the spring.

Does he have enough time to get ready? The Phillies seem to think so. Manager Charlie Manuel said he would like to see his regulars get between 60 and 70 plate appearances by the end of the spring. But Utley is obviously a special case.


Here is the line-up for today's game against the Reds:

  1. Chase Utley 2B
  2. Eric Bruntlett SS
  3. Raul Ibanez LF
  4. Ryan Howard 1B
  5. Matt Stairs RF
  6. Pedro Feliz 3B
  7. John Mayberry CF
  8. Carlos Ruiz C
  9. Brett Myers P


And, finally, here are the pitching rotations for the next few days:

Wed. (vs. Toronto): LHP J.A. Happ, RHP Ryan Madson, LHP Scott Eyre, LHP Jamie Moyer (minor league game)

Thu. (at Florida): RHP Joe Blanton, RHP Clay Condrey, RHP Robert Mosebach, RHP Brad Lidge

Fri. (at St. Louis): RHP Carlos Carrasco, RHP Chad Durbin, RHP Ryan Madson, LHP Cole Hamels (ML)

Sat. (vs. Minnesota): RHP Chan Ho Park, RHP Kyle Kendrick, RHP Clay Condrey, LHP Scott Eyre, RHP Brad Lidge

Sun. (at Boston): RHP Brett Myers, RHP Chad Durbin, RHP Ryan Madson, RHP Robert Mosebach

Mon. (vs. Yankees): LHP Jamie Moyer, LHP J.A. Happ, RHP Clay Condrey, LHP Scott Eyre, RHP Brad Lidge

Tue. (at Toronto): RHP Joe Blanton, RHP Chad Durbin, RHP Ryan Madson, RHP Robert Mosebach