ARLINGTON, Texas -- Cole Hamels continues to feel, in his words, “great,” in his comeback from offseason shoulder tendinitis.
Hamels, who made his first start of the spring in a minor-league game Thursday, followed that up with a brisk bullpen session Saturday in Philadelphia. He is with the club for Monday’s season opener in Texas.
After the game, Hamels will fly back to Clearwater and make his second spring start in a minor-league game Tuesday. Hamels said his goal is to throw 45 pitches.
“I’m completely normal now,” said Hamels, who backed off his throwing program for a week in early March because of shoulder fatigue. “I can sleep at night knowing I’m not going to wake up sore the next morning. I’m able to get all my reps in.”
Starting pitchers usually make six starts in spring training, so Hamels will probably make four more after Tuesday’s. The loose plan is to have him back sometime in late April.
Rollins sets record
Jimmy Rollins is set to make his 14th straight opening day start at shortstop for the Phillies.
That is a record for National League shortstops. Previously, Dave Concepcion started 13 straight opening days at the position for the Cincinnati Reds.
Rollins equals Hall of Famer Cal Ripken with 14 straight opening day starts at shortstop.
Rollins’ wife is expecting the couple’s second child any day now. The due date is Wednesday and he plans to be there. Major League Baseball allows a three-day paternity leave.
“Jimmy will take whatever he needs,” general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “We have people to cover us. I don’t know why it’s a big deal. People have babies all the time. When the baby comes, he’ll go be with his wife, which is what he should do.”
Newcomer Jayson Nix, Cesar Hernandez or someone from the minors could play shortstop while Rollins is out.
Nix is the brother of former Phillie Laynce Nix. He was picked up in a deal from Tampa Bay over the weekend and joined the team in Texas. Nix lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
“I’m excited to be here,” Nix said.
Nix hit .270 (10 for 37) with four doubles and a homer in 17 games with Tampa Bay during spring training. He was in Rays’ camp on a minor-league deal, but was not going to make the club’s opening day roster. The Phillies, on the lookout for a utility infielder, had their eye on Nix for a while. They had some interest in him over the winter before he signed with the Rays.