Philadelphia Phillies rumors: Cole Hamels bicep injury healing? [UPDATE] Could Philly co-ace avoid disabled list? [VIDEO]
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The Philadelphia Phillies are facing lowered expectations this season as they stare up at the stacked Washington Nationals and defending National League East champion Atlanta Braves, and star pitcher Cole Hamels is already hurt. The left-handed co-ace is suffering from bicep tendinitis and is expected to begin 2014 on the disabled list.
Hamels, however, said he is making progress in terms of how his arm feels. "It feels really good," Hamels said. "That past couple of days, it's felt really great." Hamels made these comments after his first bullpen session since March 1st.
Despite the good vibes this spring Hamels will still likely start the year on the disabled list. Even if he feels healthy enough to go, the lefty indicated he doesn't want to take the mound unless he's ready to go full strength.
"I want to be out there competing because this is what I love to do and I love to be the best at what I do," Hamels said. "I don't want to be here and be some sort of charity case. I'm here to win and help this team win and I want to pitch for a really long time."
According to ESPN.com, he threw about 20 to 30 pitches in the session and may be ready to pitch in exhibition games for the final two weeks of spring training. Pitching coach Bob McClure was also encouraged by what he saw from Hamels-"He threw free and easy, no pain."
Last year Hamels started the season in rough shape before returning to form for three straight months. He tailed off a tad in September, but overall his numbers at year-end reflected those of a frontline pitcher.
The combination of a health Hamels and Cliff Lee gives Philadelphia a puncher's chance in the National League East, since both are high-strikeout control pitchers. Last year Hamels struck out 8.1 batters per nine innings, and posted a 4.04 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
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