PHOENIX - The way Cole Hamels sees it, he's throwing anyway on Tuesday, so why not let him pitch in the All-Star Game?
"I need to find a catcher," Hamels quipped. "Maybe I'll get [Atlanta's Brian] McCann."
That's because Hamels will throw a side bullpen session at Chase Field sometime before the 82d All-Star Game, an event he is prohibited from participating in. Why? He started Sunday, and that immediately meant he needed to be replaced on the National League roster. The rule was put in place by Major-league Baseball last season.
Hamels is not a fan.
"I'd love to pitch," Hamels said. "Tuesday is a bullpen day. It's usually the day I feel the best. It's one of those things where people who don't play the game make the rules. I don't think they understand the way we work out and how we train. When you come, you want to play. Most of us are pretty smart; we're not going to injure ourselves in an All-Star Game.
"I'd be all for it. I have to throw a bullpen anyway. And it's only one inning. That's the thing. It's not like I'm going out to throw 60 pitches. As strenuous as it is, we're built to throw hundreds and 25 is nothing."
Hamels will start Saturday against the Mets in New York. Vance Worley will pitch the first game after the break and Cliff Lee is expected to start the series finale on Sunday.
Heath Bell drew a crowd during Monday's media day. The San Diego closer figures to be traded before the July 31 deadline and the Phillies are a logical destination.
Bell acknowledged as much Monday.
"I'm going to work my butt off and give everything I have to the San Diego Padres," Bell said. "When they tell me that I'm in Philly or St. Louis or Texas or the Yankees or the Angels, whoever it is, I'm going to give my heart and soul to that team."
Bell said he'd be willing to serve as a setup man for a contending team this season but will seek a closing job in free agency this winter. Bell, 33, has a 2.43 ERA with 26 saves this season. He is an all-star for the third straight year.
If Jose Contreras' elbow issue is serious, which is certainly a possibility, the Phillies could seek insurance for the back of the bullpen. Any contribution from Brad Lidge is questionable. Antonio Bastardo has been fantastic but is only six innings away from equaling his 2010 total. And Michael Stutes is more than halfway to his 2010 total.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is on record as saying he'd prefer to add a relief arm before a bat.
Bell is making $7.5 million this year. The Padres also have Ryan Ludwick, a righthanded, power-hitting outfielder who could attract the Phillies.
Both Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco said it was a no-brainer to attend the all-star festivities despite injuries. And each said his health is improving.
Victorino (sprained right thumb) said he did some hitting Sunday and will continue to do some light work this week. He expects to play in a few minor-league games next week.
"It's feeling better," he said. "That's the main thing."
Polanco said he continues to take anti-inflammatory medication and is optimistic that he can avoid an injection in his back. He plans to hit Thursday and Friday with the hopes of playing in the first game against New York.
Brad Lidge (shoulder) continued his rehab assignment by pitching another scoreless inning at double-A Reading. He struck out two in his fourth minor-league game and has yet to walk a batter. He still could require about six more appearances. . . . The Phillies promoted pitcher and designated hitter Joe Savery to triple-A Lehigh Valley on Monday. Because Savery does not have a position, he was converted back to pitcher and is also being used as a pinch-hitter. In nine innings at Reading, he struck out 14 batters and walked none while allowing one run. He hit .200 with one home run.
Robinson Cano wins the Home Run Derby. D4.
Cole Hamels is not a fan of the All-Star Game's pitching rule. D5.
Octorara grad Ryan Vogelsong proves he's an all-star pitcher. D5.
All-Star Game rosters. D5.