CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Earlier in the week, we wondered about the fate of Cole Hamels' cutter, the fourth pitch he experimented with this off-season and hoped to add to his repertoire. But pitching coach Rich Dubee downplayed the cutter last week, saying he wanted Hamels to focus at one pitch at a time -- the curveball priority No. 1.
Well, when Hamels took the mound on Friday to face hitters for the first time this spring in live batting practice, he threw more cutters than curveballs.
So did Hamels talk Dubee into throwing it?
"No," Dubee said. "He's been playing with it. We played with it last year some. I think he's very comfortable where he is arm-wise. He feels like he's ready to do that stuff. It's all good."
Is the pitching coach fine with Hamels working on two pitches at a time?
"Right now, yeah," Dubee said. "Right now he's getting enough of both. He probably threw five cutters, four curveballs. He's still getting both."
Hamels had already left the building after Dubee was done talking, so we don't know his thoughts on the matter yet. But Dubee was very impressed with what he saw on the mound.
"He repeated deliveries," Dubee said. "His command was very good. His arm looked a lot better than it has in any spring. All positives."
And even when something went wrong, Hamels recovered, Dubee said. Hamels bounced a fastball to the plate and became angered -- exactly what Dubee criticized Hamels for doing too much last season. But he straighted out his emotions and threw a fastball on the next pitch.
"Tremendous adjustment in his behavior," Dubee said. "He threw a gem the next pitch."
Quote of the day
This is actually the clubhouse leader for Charlie quote of the spring. When asked about outfielder Tyson Gillies' energy, Manuel said he watched him run from center to right field while shagging flyballs during batting practice.
"He takes shagging to another level," Manuel said.