What we know about Hamels' doctor trip

So, here is what we know thus far:

1) General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told media today that Cole Hamels will be leaving spring training to fly to Philadelphia, where he will be examined by team doctor Michael Ciccotti.

2) Hamels has had persistent soreness in his elbow, which Amaro says has become "more localized" lately.

3) The Phillies insist they are not overly concerned that the examination will reveal anything damning. They gave Hamels a thorough exam, which included an MRI, before they signed him to a three-year, $20.5 million contract in mid-January. Those reports showed nothing which which to be concerned.

"We just want to be cautious," Amaro said. "We thought it was important that he see our doctor in Philadelphia."

4) Hamels told our Paul Hagen yesterday that he was not concerned about his ability to get himself ready for Opening Day. Hamels' velocity has been well short of where it normally sits, but the lefthander says that is normal for this time of year.

"Every year it [velocity] does the same thing," he pointed out. "I think to hit your spots is a little more important. It will just come from the strength of being out there. I think it takes that extra adrenaline and extra motivation of knowing that something does count to really get it there. But if you're able to hit your spots, by the time you want to ramp it up you know you're going to be somewhere in the area instead of all over the plac

5) Amaro said Hamels' velocity has been progressing as expected. He said the mild soreness -- which he later referred to as a "tightness" -- has not affected his arm strength. Between innings, Amaro said, Hamels' elbow will sometimes tighten up.

"We do not think it is serious," Amaro said.

6) Asked if this could jeopardize Hamels' status for Opening Day, which is in 19 days, Amaro said: "It's a possibility, I guess. But we won't know anything until Dr. Ciccotti sees him."

7) Amaro said the soreness is in a different area of the elbow than the injury that landed Hamels on the disabled list two years ago.


In more positive injury news, Amaro said Chase Utley came out of his first Grapefruit League game "really well." In fact, he said, Utley has responded better than the day after his appearance in a minor league game Saturday.