Hamels, Adams get tentative dates to begin throwing off mound

Posted: February 20, 2014

CLEARWATER, Fla. - While half the pitchers in Phillies camp faced hitters for the first time in live batting practice sessions yesterday afternoon, Cole Hamels and Mike Adams both said they have tentative dates for when they'll throw off the mound for the first time.

Hamels, who said last week that he was entering camp behind schedule because of biceps tendinitis, will throw a bullpen session next Tuesday. Hamels has taken part in pitchers' fielding drills during the first week of camp.

Adams, who had shoulder surgery last summer, threw a simulated side session on flat ground yesterday and is tentatively looking at Feb. 27 to throw off the mound for the first time in camp.

Hamels came to Clearwater figuring he would not be ready for Opening Day after battling some biceps soreness in November. But it's still not out of the question that he could jump into the rotation during the first week of the season.

Adams said his own availability for Opening Day would be "pushing it."

"I want to make sure I'm there for the long haul and not rush myself out there and do something that's not smart," said Adams, the setup man who signed a 2-year, $12 million deal before last season. "I'm thinking early to mid-April might be more realistic . . . Even if it is late April, as long as I'm ready. Once I'm ready to go, I don't want to have no more setbacks or go on the DL or anything."

The two pitchers who appeared to draw the most interest during live batting practice sessions: Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez and Jesse Biddle.

Gonzalez, the Cuban free agent who has never pitched a game in the United States, threw to Chase Utley, Cody Asche and Freddy Galvis, with manager Ryne Sandberg perched on the batting-cage netting to get a good look.

"Some of the hitters mentioned he was down in the zone pretty good and had some action on his changeup," Sandberg said.

"I saw a lot of good fastballs, down in the zone," Asche said. "Late life to it. He definitely had some stuff that could miss some barrels, for sure. Some good, natural cut on the ball. I was impressed."

Biddle, the former first-round pick and Philadelphia native, saw Bobby Abreu step into the batter's box as he began his own mound work.

"My cousin is, like, the biggest Bobby Abreu fan of all time," said Biddle, a Germantown Friends graduate. "He was a big part of my childhood growing up."

Biddle also faced Jimmy Rollins and Ben Revere. Afterward, former two-time Cy Young Award winner and current spring training instructor Roy Halladay sat at Biddle's locker for a recap.

Gonzalez is competing for the fifth spot in the Phillies' rotation, while Biddle is likely to open the season at Triple A.

Before the team's first full-squad workout of the spring, Sandberg addressed his players in the Bright House Field clubhouse.

"I just wanted to get everybody on the same page, as far as expectations, my philosophies on things and my definitions on things," Sandberg said. "Respecting the game was one of the topics . . . I laid things out there so there is no misunderstandings. In a lot of ways, it felt like back in the day, an opening day-type of thing. There was anxiousness. Good butterflies. I was excited to see everybody and actually get started with the process of molding the guys together as a unit."

Following the usual morning stretch, Sandberg instilled a new element into the daily spring- workout routine. The team took part in baserunning drills, which Sandberg said will continue throughout the spring.

"It's a technique, and it's a fundamental exercise that'll be stressed," Sandberg said. "I got great feedback from the guys, they were saying it got them loose."

Sandberg said it's also something the team needs to improve from 2013.

"For me, it goes a long way as far as winning baseball games," Sandberg said. "Sometimes it goes unnoticed. I think it's one of the facets of the game. Good baserunning, in a lot of ways, wins you more games than any facet of the game."

Domonic Brown worked with a chiropractor this offseason in an effort to sidestep nagging injuries this season. Brown started only 38 of the team's final 66 games last season. He plans to incorporate the treatment, including deep-tissue massages, into the regular season, too . . . Asked which pitcher impressed him the most against hitters yesterday, pitching coach Bob McClure said righthander Ethan Martin. Martin, 24, is being stretched out in camp to give the Phillies depth with potential starting pitchers, but he could open the season in the bullpen . . . Ryne Sandberg said Darin Ruf will get an equal amount of work at both first base and leftfield, but little work in right, since the Phillies are deep there this spring.

On Twitter: @ryanlawrence21

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