Hamels encouraged after pitching BP

Cole Hamels long tosses before a Spring Training game. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Cole Hamels was encouraged after throwing batting practice for the first time this spring on Saturday morning. Hamels threw two different innings, consisting of 15 pitches each.

Following the first 15 pitches he rested and then resumed to throw his final 15 pitches at Bright House Field.

Hamels, recovering from biceps tendinitis and a fatigued arm, faced two minor leaguers, lefthanded batter Brock Stassi and righthanded hitter Tyler Henson.

“I feel great,” Hamels said afterwards.

What was most important to Hamels was how he was able to regroup after throwing the first 15 pitches before resting and then resuming his workout.

“All the progressions I have been able to make the last week and a half definitively have been positive,” Hamels said. “To be able to go out there especially with the sort of up down I had because I know that is a big step in seeing how you will recover and how you are going to respond after a couple of minutes and then obviously trying to get your location and your work in with another intense round of pitches.”

Originially, Hamels said he would throw two batting practice sessions before facing hitters in a game but now he is not so sure, even though the typical schedule for pitchers is to throw two batting practice sessions before game action.

“We will look at how I respond the next couple of days and getting the sort of bullpen reps and seeing where and what they want to do,” Hamels said.

It’s likely that Hamels could make his first live action in an extended spring training game. He still appears to be on course to return to the Phillies somewhere around May 1.