Slowly but surely, Cole Hamels will join the rest of the Phillies rotation in Grapefruit League action this month. It could happen as soon as next week.
Hamels will face hitters for the first time in 2014 when he pitches in a live batting practice session on Thursday in Clearwater.
Hamels entered camp behind schedule after battling biceps tendinitis in November. He has been healthy since arriving in Florida, but behind the rest of the pitchers in building up endurance and arm strength.
Hamels is on tap for a side bullpen session on Tuesday - his third time throwing off a mound in the last week. He'll face hitters on Thursday and is on tap to do the same on Sunday.
If he continues on his current path, with two days off between throwing, Hamels could jump into a Grapefruit League game as soon as a week from Wednesday - March 12 against the Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota.
Other notable items from the current pithcing schedule:
-Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez will make his second Grapefruit League appearance on Thursday, when the Phillies play in Lakeland against the Detroit Tigers as part of a split squad. Gonzalez is scheduled to pitch three innings in relief of David Buchanan. Gonzalez threw a bullpen session in Clearwater on Monday morning.
-A.J. Burnett's second spring appearance will come against his "hometown" team. Burnett, an Arkansas native who makes a home in Monkton, Md., is on tap to start Friday's game in Sarasota against the Baltimore Orioles. Burnett said he signed a one-year deal with the Phillies due to the team's proximity to his family's home. The pitcher said the Orioles showed minimal interest.
-Mike Adams will throw his third bullpen session of the spring on Wednesday. A week after feeling some discomfort, Adams has throw two side sessions without issue.
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Jimmy Rollins is not in camp today; he's battling flu-like symptoms, the team said.
But Rollins is scheduled to start tomorrow night's game in Clearwater vs. the Blue Jays (6:30 p.m., TCN). The game also pits former Cy Young Award winners Cliff Lee and R.A. Dickey against each other for the second time in six days.
Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, who also didn't make the trip to Port Charlotte for today's game against the Rays, are also in the lineup. Cody Asche is not; Maikel Franco is scheduled to start at third base.
Asche was hit in the right hand with a pitch on Sunday, but results came back negative. Asche took infield practice with Howard, Utley and Kevin Frandsen in Clearwater on Monday morining.
He'll resume hitting on Tuesday.