DENVER -- Cole Hamels’ uniform was hanging in a locker in the visiting clubhouse at Coors Field on Friday afternoon. The left-hander will be with the Phillies this weekend and make his regular-season debut Tuesday or Wednesday night in Los Angeles against the Dodgers.
“We’ll fit him in there in L.A.,” manager Ryne Sandberg said. “We're still discussing it, but as we speak we’re leaning toward Wednesday.”
By using Hamels on Wednesday, the Phillies would be able to split their two left-handed starters. In that scenario, lefty Cliff Lee would pitch Monday, right-hander A.J. Burnett on Tuesday and the lefty Hamels on Wednesday.
“We’re leaning toward breaking up the two lefties,” Sandberg said.
Hamels’ readiness for the season was pushed back several weeks after he had to shut down offseason workouts because of a bout of shoulder tendinitis. He did not pitch in a spring-training game until the final week of camp. On Thursday, he made his fifth and final “spring training” start and pitched seven innings of one-run, three-hit ball for Single A Clearwater.
Hamels needed just 81 pitches to complete seven innings. He walked one and struck out three. He threw an additional dozen pitches in the bullpen after coming out of the game.
“We’ve gotten good reports on him,” Sandberg said. “He has no restrictions now and he’s right on schedule now.”
Over the last two weeks, Hamels has said he feels strong and healthy.
Using Hamels on Wednesday would allow him to slide into the spot that is currently being manned by Jonathan Pettibone, Friday night's starter in Denver.
If the Dodgers stay on rotation, Hamels would face Zack Greinke on Wednesday night.
On that schedule, Hamels’ second start would come April 29 in the first game of a homestand against the New York Mets.