Ruben Amaro Jr. insists that its nothing to be concerned about, but any time someone hears that Cole Hamels experienced shoulder soreness, well, theres going to be concern.
Thats just the way it is with pitching arms. Especially ones critical to a teams success.
Id be concerned if this was an issue, but we dont view this as an issue at all, Amaro said Thursday.
CSNPhilly.com learned that Hamels encountered an issue during his offseason throwing program.
Amaro confirmed that the issue arose early in the offseason and the GM disclosed that Hamels actually had some shoulder soreness at the end of the season. Amaro said that shoulder soreness was not uncommon.
According to Amaro, Hamels got aggressive with his throwing program sometime in October. The pitcher, according to Amaro, had some soreness and contacted head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan.
We shut him down for a couple of weeks, but hes fine now, Amaro said. He was being proactive more than anything else, which is good. We backed him off and slowed him down, but hes back throwing now and doing fine. Hes had no complaints.
Amaro wasnt certain where Hamels had been throwing when the pitcher felt the soreness. Hamels throws throughout the winter, wherever he is at the time. Amaro said the issue was not serious enough that Hamels needed to be examined. The GM would not say whether Hamels received any treatment other than rest.
Hamels, who turned 29 in December, received a thorough medical check before signing a six-year, 144 million contract, the largest in Philadelphia sports history, in July. That checkup included an MRI. The lefthander has had some minor arm troubles, including a two-week stint on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation in August 2011. He had surgery to remove a bone chip from his elbow after that season. These problems were considered minor (and Hamels proved that with a strong season in 2012). If they had been more serious, the club likely would not have been willing to give Hamels his historic contract in July.
The Phillies, who saw their string of five straight NL East titles end in 2012, hope to return to the playoffs in 2013. Good health is crucial to their chances. Foundation blocks such as Roy Halladay, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard all missed significant time with injuries in 2012. They must be healthy for the Phils to contend. Hamels, coming off 17 wins and 216 strikeouts (both career highs) in 215 13 innings in 2012 is also vital to the teams fortunes. He could end up making his first opening-day start in 2013. He was supposed to be the teams opening-day starter in 2009 but elbow tightness scuttled that plan.
Amaro continues to get reports on Halladays workouts in Clearwater. The righthander spent seven weeks on the DL with shoulder issues in 2012. He has made some mechanical adjustments to ease the burden on his shoulder.
Hes doing real well, Amaro said. Pitching coach Rich Dubee saw him throw. He feels good. His mechanics look good. Everything is positive. Hes getting loose faster than in the past.
Halladay will start throwing off a mound later this month and he, like Hamels, will be ready for Day 1 of spring training.
Well know more when hes on the mound and firing, but right now all indications are good, Amaro said of Halladay.
Utley, whose sore knees prevented him from playing a game in the last two spring trainings, continues to take ground balls several times a week in California. Sheridan will evaluate his progress in person next week.
Chase is strong and good, Amaro said. He should be 100 percent going into camp.
Howard has shown no deficiencies in his Florida workouts, according to Amaro.
Camp opens Feb. 12. Amaro said Jimmy Rollins is already hitting in Clearwater.
Knock on wood, at least from the medical reports, everything is pretty positive, Amaro said. What happens coming into camp, well see.
Im looking forward to getting rolling, Amaro added. Its been a longer offseason than were used to having. Im curious to see how people look, how healthy people are. I know our veterans who have been there are not happy with how things turned out and hopefully that translates into the urgency I like to see.
And Im eager to see our young guys get an opportunity to steal some jobs. They should understand the urgency too. Were playing to win. Its not just about getting jobs. We want to see the urgency to win out of them, too. If we dont, they wont be on the club.
The Phillies outfield picture remains uncertain. Ben Revere is set in centerfield. Darin Ruf, John Mayberry Jr., Domonic Brown and Laynce Nix will vie for jobs, possibly in platoons, at the corner spots as Amaro continues to look for upgrades. That never stops.
Its very possible we go to camp with what weve got, but were still looking, and we wont stop looking in spring training. Its our job, Amaro said.