Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels, who has been on the shelf since the middle of November, is expected to get some work in off the mound this week. This will be the first time throwing off the mound in spring training for the Phillies hurler as he attempts to comeback from lingering soreness in his biceps.
The 30-year old Hamels was extended in 2012 by Philadelphia to the tune of $144 million over six years. He finished with a record of 8-14 in 2013, but wins and losses are typically not an accurate reflection of a pitcher's performance. The Phillies left-hander was actually pretty solid and durable, logging 220 innings and striking out 202 with an ERA of 3.60 and a 1.16 WHIP.
The soreness manifested itself in November as Hamels was in the midst of his regular offseason throwing regimen. The pitcher was shutdown at that point, a move that also curtailed his usual weightlifting routine. Although he started lifting again last week, Hamels was frustrated by the forced inactivity:
"It was difficult," Hamels explained. "Every offseason I lifted all year, five days a week. So to not be able to do it, you lose a lot, with the balance of trying to do everything to your body."Professional athletes tend to be creatures of habit, and pitchers are no exception. Because of the required delay, Hamels is now two weeks behind his pitching brethren, but being completely healthy for the season and pitching pain free certainly trumps routine in regard to importance. The Phillies are going to continue the easy transition back to action for Hamels, who is completely onboard with this philosophy:
"In the past, I'd want to ramp it up a little bit on certain days," Hamels mused. "I know that's not necessarily helpful in building up. I think I've been able to do everything to the best of my ability at the right time and at the right pace. There has been that slow progression, and now I feel like my body is capable of making the big jumps."Philadelphia is exercising caution with Hamels, as it has already been determined that the longtime Phillies hurler will miss his Opening Day start for the second consecutive year. Hamels is confident he will make his regular season debut sometime in April, but at this point it is impossible to determine a specific date.
Hamels is pleased with the progress he has made, which is good news for the Phillies and their fan base. He is a valuable part of the Philly rotation, and is worth keeping an eye on going forward.