On the bright side, Cole Hamels looked sharp in 2014 debut

On the bright side, Cole Hamels looked sharp in 2014 debut

The Philadelphia Phillies lost on Wednesday. That will happen another 60-70 times this year conservatively, so nothing really to be alarmed about here, other than the bullpen’s continued inability to get the job done.

If nothing else, at least Cole Hamels erased any doubt about where he’s at coming off the disabled list. In his first start of 2014, the one-time World Series MVP wasn’t anything less than we’ve come to expect despite earning the loss in a 5-2 defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Phillies’ win streak was snapped at three.

In short, Hamels did his job. The lefthander allowed two runs on six hits and one walk through six innings of work, striking out five. Hit ball had a lot of life, and the Dodgers didn’t exactly hit him hard—both good signs after missing the first few weeks with a dead arm.

When he exited the game, the Phillies were trailing 2-1.

There was a slight hint of controversy over Hamels’ early hook. King Cole was only up to 86 pitches at that point, and would later tell reporters there was plenty left in the tank. Can’t blame a great competitor for being unhappy with that.

After all, not only was the guy dealing. He was one of only four Phillies players in the starting lineup to come up with a base hit.

Given Hamels wasn’t even replaced in a pinch-hit situation, it’s difficult to argue this was anything less than a confounding move by Phils manager Ryne Sandberg. Watching relievers Jeff Manship and Mario Hollands let the game get away in the seventh and eighth frames only confirmed playing it overly safe with Hamels almost certainly was not the best option.

Not surprisingly, Philadelphia’s bullpen is already the worst in baseball with a 5.64 earned run average. The unit ranked 27th last season.

But I digress. The Phillies’ pen stinks, and there are few good solutions. At least with the return of a healthy Cole Hamels, maybe Sandberg won’t be as quick to rely on relief on another of the club’s every fifth day.

Former Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn signs 2-year deal with Coyotes

Former Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn signs 2-year deal with Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Coyotes have signed former Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn to a two-year contract.

The 26-year-old defenseman had four goals and 12 assists in 72 games with the Flyers and Los Angeles Kings last season. Schenn and Vinny Lecavalier were traded by the Flyers to the Kings last January in exchange for Jordan Weal and a third-round draft pick in last month's entry draft.

In his career, Schenn has 28 goals and 100 assists in 566 games with the Kings, Flyers and Toronto Maple Leafs. In three-plus seasons with the Flyers, Schenn scored 12 goals and added 30 assists.

Schenn was the first-round draft pick - fifth selection overall - by the Maple Leafs in 2008.

Coyotes general manager John Chayka called Schenn "a good, young defenseman" who will be "a solid addition" to the Arizona blue line.

- CSNPhilly.com contributed to this story.

Cameron Rupp leaves game vs. Pirates after getting hit in head by pitch

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Associated Press

Cameron Rupp leaves game vs. Pirates after getting hit in head by pitch

Updated - 5:55 p.m.

PITTSBURGH -- Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp left the game in the third inning after being struck on the left ear flap of his batting helmet by a pitch from Pirates rookie right-hander Tyler Glasnow.

Rupp walked off the field under his own power and backup catcher Carlos Ruiz pinch ran for him and stayed in the game to catch starter Aaron Nola.

The Phillies later announced Rupp was removed from the game as a precaution and that he showed no symptoms of a concussion.

Less than 24 hours before, Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco was hit in the wrist by a pitch thrown by Pirates starter Gerrit Cole in Friday's 4-0 victory at PNC Park. Franco left the game and did not start on Saturday afternoon. He's listed as day to day (see story).

In the first inning on Saturday, Rupp hit into an inning-ending ground out. He is hitting .276 with 10 home runs in 63 games.