LOS ANGELES -- Ryne Sandberg had no problem with Cole Hamels expressing his disappointment at the manager’s decision to remove him from Wednesday night’s start after six innings and 86 pitches.
“That’s the right answer,” Sandberg said. “He gave the right answer. We have five guys in the rotation who have that same mentality. I wouldn't have expected anything else from him.”
Hamels came out of the game trailing, 2-1, and the Dodgers pulled away with three runs against the Phillies’ bullpen, which has the worst ERA in the majors at 5.64 (see story).
After the game, Hamels told reporters he was surprised by the decision to remove him. He said he had plenty left in his tank and could have thrown another 20 pitches.
Mindful that it was Hamels’ first start after rehabbing from shoulder tendinitis, Sandberg took the conservative route and removed Hamels.
“That was good for his first time out,” Sandberg said after the game. “I thought he pitched very well and gave us a chance to win. He showed real good stuff. Eighty-six pitches and two runs. He did a nice job.”
On Thursday, Sandberg stuck by his decision and offered some more insight into it. In particular, Sandberg mentioned the difference in intensity between a minor-league rehab start and one at Dodger Stadium.
“Almost 90 pitches in Clearwater and almost 90 pitches at Dodger Stadium in a 2-1 game are different,” Sandberg said. “He was 89 to 90 (mph) in his rehab starts and he hit 93 here. What’s that going to feel like tomorrow? That was kind of the thought with a full season ahead of us.
“For me, I thought that was outstanding for his first outing. We’re a better team with him. To have him continue, with the possibility of adding 12 to 15 pitches at the end of that with stress -- I think for the betterment of the team and for him, that was an outstanding outing.”
Sandberg spoke with Hamels on Thursday and the lefty reported that he felt good the day after his start.
Hamels did his usual day-after throwing in the outfield and worked on his pickoff move with pitching coach Bob McClure during batting practice.
The left-hander will make his next start Tuesday night at home against the New York Mets.