Phillies Notes: Phillies name Cole Hamels opening-day starter

Centerfielder Ender Inciarte , a Rule 5 pickup, was impressive with arm and bat Thursday. DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff
Centerfielder Ender Inciarte , a Rule 5 pickup, was impressive with arm and bat Thursday. DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff
Posted: March 16, 2013

CLEARWATER, Fla. - It came in the form of a text message from the team a couple of hours after the Phillies' 2-1 Grapefruit League victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates, and it was certainly not a surprise.

Still, it's somewhat of a big deal to be named an opening-day starter in the big leagues for the first time in your career, and that's exactly what officially happened for Phillies lefthander Cole Hamels Thursday.

Hamels, 29, will pitch against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on April 1. He was not available for comment, but he downplayed the honor earlier in spring training.

"I've never really thought about it," said Hamels, who signed a six-year, $144 million contract in the middle of last season. "It's one game, one appearance, and then you're back into the normal baseball [routine]. I've never really looked at it as this big sort of deal. I've always valued the playoffs."

Hamels, of course, started Game 1 of three series during the Phillies' 2008 run to a World Series title and was named both the NLCS and World Series MVP.

Roy Halladay's streak of 10 straight opening-day starts will come to an end.

Kendrick goes five

The Phillies sent Kyle Kendrick to the minor-league complex behind Bright House Field during their exhibition game Friday and he allowed two unearned runs and four hits in five innings. He walked one, struck out three, and threw 73 pitches.

"I pitched against our triple-A kids," Kendrick said. "I was happy about that because they had some good at-bats. They weren't just hacking like the younger kids, so that was nice. The cutter can be better. I need to work on that."

Inciarte impresses

Centerfielder Ender Inciarte, the Phillies' Rule 5 draft pick off the Arizona roster, had an impressive day against the Pirates. He made a perfect throw on a Clint Barmes single to nail Brad Hawpe at home for the final out of the second inning and doubled in the fifth inning.

Extra bases

Pete Orr, back from playing with Canada in the World Baseball Classic, hit an eighth-inning home run to provide the margin of victory for the Phillies. . . . Chase Utley had two hits, including a double. . . . Jonathan Papelbon and Jake Diekman threw scoreless innings out of the pen while Phillippe Aumont uncorked a seventh-inning wild pitch that led to Pittsburgh's only run. . . . Second baseman Cesar Hernandez and pitcher Justin Friend were sent to the minor-league complex after the game. Hernandez was optioned and Friend was reassigned.

Contact Bob Brookover at Follow on Twitter @brookob.

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