Phillies Notes: Cole Hamels suffering from arm fatigue, pitching coach says

Cole Hamels pitched just five innings in Friday's game before being replaced. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)
Cole Hamels pitched just five innings in Friday's game before being replaced. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)
Posted: August 14, 2011

In the opinion of Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee, Cole Hamels is simply experiencing what many starting pitchers do at this time of the year - arm fatigue.

"Right now, that's what we think it is," Dubee said Saturday.

Following Friday's 4-2 loss to Washington, Hamels said that he had a difficult time getting loose, but that he was not in pain. The lefthander didn't appear to be concerned. Manager Charlie Manuel said Hamels had stiffness in his shoulder.

Dubee said Hamels told him his arm felt heavy after he warmed up for his previous start, at San Francisco eight days ago.

"So we just talked about angling the ball, and he goes out and pitches a gem," Dubee said. "Then his side session between then and now was fabulous. His arm rebounded, felt great. So it's a combination of workload, a combination of east-west [traveling] or west-east, whatever you want to call it. Just everything building up."

Hamels didn't have his typical command while walking four in five innings Friday, tying his season high for walks. Also, his fastball lacked its usual velocity, averaging 88.6 m.p.h. It was the fifth consecutive start in which the velocity on his fastball decreased, yet Hamels had a 1.76 ERA in the four starts prior to Friday's.

Dubee pointed out that Hamels had an extra day of rest before Friday's start because Thursday was an off day.

"Guys go through stretches where they get tired," he said. "It's not a natural thing to throw a baseball the way they do. There's not a guy in this clubhouse who hasn't gone through it, a tired or dead arm at this point in a season."

With Roy Halladay (1732/3 innings), Cliff Lee (172), and Hamels (172) ranked 1-2-3 in the NL in innings pitched, Dubee didn't rule out going to a six-man rotation to prevent overwork.

"Yeah, we'll see," he said. "They're 1-2-3 in innings pitched. There is a workload there."

Polanco update

After fielding some grounders in the batting cage, an upbeat Placido Polanco said Saturday he was optimistic he would be able to avoid the disabled list and return to play at some point this week.

"I felt comfortable bending over to field grounders," said Polanco, who hasn't played since last Saturday because of a sports hernia. "I'm pretty optimistic I'll be able to play next week."

But Polanco won't get a true gauge of where he is until he takes batting practice, which he plans to do Sunday. Polanco, who will eventually have surgery to repair the hernia, had a cortisone shot Tuesday.

"It definitely feels better today than it did [Friday]," he said.

"He said he'll know more in a couple of days," Manuel said.

In Polanco's absence, Michael Martinez has started 18 games at third base. Wilson Valdez made his 16th start at third Saturday. Manuel said he often bases his decision on matchups. Valdez was in Saturday's lineup because he had two hits off Washington starter John Lannan in six at-bats against him this season.

Extra bases

Before the game, Tony Taylor presented Chase Utley with a base from Friday night's game to commemorate Utley's 1,004th appearance at second base. Taylor, who was among 45 former Phillies present for Alumni Weekend, held the former club record with 1,003 games. . . . Greg Legg, coach for the single-A Lakewood BlueClaws, was presented with the John Vukovich Award by Vince Vukovich, son of the late Phillies player and coach. . . . The Phillies went into Saturday's game 22-9 in games against lefthanded starters this season, best in the NL.


Contact staff writer Ray Parrillo at 215-854-2743 or rparrillo@phillynews.com.

 

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