Hamels feels he's nearing return to Phillies
Left-hander looking to extend pitch count over next two rehab outings
PHILADELPHIA -- Cole Hamels has been pleased with his progress from left shoulder discomfort and believes he could join the Phillies' rotation after two more Minor League rehab outings.
Hamels, who was at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday to be a part of the festivities for the Phillies' home opener, is scheduled to start on Friday with Class A Advanced Clearwater and said he wants to increase his workload to five or six innings. The left-hander tossed four innings in a 65-pitch rehab outing on Sunday.
Hamels said he wants to increase his pitch count by 15 in each rehab start, and feels he will be ready to start in the Major Leagues once he's comfortable making 90 pitches.
"I believe the big test is the pitch count," Hamels said. "If I'm able to get 90 pitches, I know that I'm game ready because that gives me enough pitches and enough reps with my pitches to be able to go out there and have the confidence I can throw, especially to big league guys."
If all goes well, Hamels could build his pitch count to 90 with just two more rehab starts.
"I believe so," he said. "I think that's something we'll talk about and discuss with how I'm feeling because I do feel really great. Everything has been going really well in between days, the day after, my bullpens. I feel nothing is in the back of my mind. There's nothing lingering. I'm ready to go and they're letting me go, and I think that's where we're really going. We're playing it by ear, where we have the proper structure and they're not pushing me too fast, too quickly. And I think everything is going really well."
If Hamels truly is ready to pitch in the Majors after two more rehab outings, that would put the left-hander on track to make a start with the Phillies as soon as April 21.
Phillies still mulling options for fifth starter
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies need a fifth starter for Saturday's game against the Marlins, and manager Ryne Sandberg said on Tuesday that a decision will be made "in the next day or two."
General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. previously mentioned two candidates in right-handers Jonathan Pettibone and David Buchanan, who was one of the bright spots during Spring Training. Pettibone and Buchanan are currently with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Right-hander Jeff Manship is in the Phillies' bullpen and has starting experience as well.
But Buchanan threw 93 pitches in five innings on Tuesday with Lehigh Valley, which seems to rule him out. He would be pitching on short rest if the Phillies elect to start Buchanan against the Marlins, which both Amaro and Sandberg said would be tough to ask of him. Buchanan also is not on the 40-man roster, which means the Phillies would need to clear a spot for him.
"He's a possibility," Sandberg said. "But we have other options also we're looking at."
Pettibone pitched five innings on Sunday afternoon for Lehigh Valley, allowing four hits on three runs with two strikeouts and one walk. Pettibone is on the 40-man and had a 4.04 ERA in 18 starts with the Phillies last season.
Will the Phillies make a decision based on performance or will roster implications be a factor?
"More of performance-based and who we think is the right guy and ready for the task and who makes sense as far as quality, giving us a chance to win," Sandberg said. "We have two or three choices. We'll make a decision in the next day or two on that."
• Major League Baseball awarded Phillies center fielder Ben Revere a stolen base that was initially ruled defensive indifference on Opening Day in Texas. The Rangers were holding Revere at first base and threw over twice before he advanced to second with Jimmy Rollins batting in the seventh inning.
• Infielder Freddy Galvis made his first rehab start on Tuesday, playing third base with Class A Advanced Clearwater. He went 1-for-4 with a triple. Galvis had been playing extended spring training games as he recovers from MRSA -- a bacteria that causes infections in different parts of the body -- and is "doing well," according to Sandberg. Galvis could rejoin the Phillies before the end of their 10-game homestand.
• Right-hander Mike Adams (right shoulder surgery) struck out one in one scoreless inning in a rehab appearance with Clearwater. He hopes to be back by the middle of the month.