Cole Hamels said his arm felt “really good” following his first throwing session off a mound in 11 days.
Hamels remains noncommittal on whether he thinks he’ll be able to join the rotation in April, preferring to take his progress in week-by-week steps. Last Thursday, Hamels, who entered camp behind schedule following a bout with biceps tendinitis in November, said he felt fatigued and not strong enough to face hitters in a previously scheduled live batting practice session.
After throwing between 20-to-30 pitches on Wednesday, Hamels was asked if facing hitters next week was possible.
“A week from now? Definitely,” Hamels said. “That’s obviously the goal. But at the same time, it’s seeing how I’m going to feel, putting more workouts in, and really, ultimately building as much strength as I possible can so I have something to go off of.”
The Phillies break camp in Clearwater two weeks from Thursday. Hamels will not be ready to jump into the rotation when the regular season begins on March 31, obviously, but pitching coach Bob McClure did not rule out Hamels’ ability to pitch in a Grapefruit League game within the next two weeks.
“He could,” McCure said. “Normally he would go pen, pen, pen, a couple days off, bullpen. A couple days off, BP. A couple days off, BP. Day off, side. Two days, game. So, yeah, it could happen.”
At the end of his 10-minute chat with reporters on Wednesday morning, Hamels was reminded that Phillies spring training injuries often have a history of becoming much worse than originally stated. (Chase Utley's knees, Roy Halladay and Brad Lidge's arms, etc.). But Hamels said he's not hiding anything more ominous about his $144 million arm.
"I feel like, and I’m always honest and up front with you guys, I don’t try to hide anything because it’s not fair to anyone and, trust me, I don’t like having the part where I said one thing and then have to go back on it," he said. "I’d rather just throw it out there, be honest and accept the consequences, because you guys knew the consequences as opposed to having to hide something and then really taking the brunt end of it."