Phillies Notebook: Hamels happy with progress

Posted: February 25, 2014

CLEARWATER, Fla. - Cole Hamels feels like he's entering his first week of spring training.

While that might be worrisome given that March is less than a week away and the regular season begins 5 weeks from today, Hamels remains unconcerned about being behind schedule. After throwing a high-intensity side session on flat ground yesterday, Hamels said he's healthy and simply playing catch-up.

"I feel really good," he said. "I've made tremendous progress."

Hamels will get on the mound and throw his first bullpen session of the spring tomorrow. Where he will fall when the season begins - missing two starts might be a fair rough guesstimate - won't be determined until the rest of his spring schedule plays out.

"I really don't know," Hamels said. "I know right now I'm happy with where I am."

Hamels experienced shoulder tendinitis in mid-November, when he began rebooting his offseason throwing program. He stopped throwing and was told to put his weight-training program on hold, too.

Hamels was cleared to begin lifting last week. He has been playing catch and long-toss during the first 2 weeks of camp.

His first big step to pitching in an exhibition game will come this week, when he begins his regular side sessions.

"[Tomorrow] is pretty much like the bullpen before you come into spring training," Hamels said. "So the next one [Thursday] would be the 'Day 1 of spring training bullpen' and, from there, I'd be on the same schedule [the other pitchers] were on.

"The only way I'll make some better strides is when I get into games and see where I'm at and how comfortably I'm able to show the up/down sessions with two or three innings and 60 or 70 pitches. That's where I think they'll make a better judgment of where I am and what I'll be capable of throwing."

On an otherwise quiet Sunday at the Carpenter Complex - the rest of the pitchers had a recovery day, with no work off mounds - first-year pitching coach Bob McClure walked away encouraged with what he saw in one of the most important pieces of his pitching staff.

"He was good - really good," McClure said. "Free and easy."

Replay meeting

Manager Ryne Sandberg sat in on a meeting regarding the implementation of instant replay for the upcoming season. Sandberg said he believes there will be five televised Grapefruit League games where he'll have a chance to run through the process.

"Some of it will be a test run and experience it and trial and error," Sandberg said. "It might take half a season to get some things ironed out. For the most part we want to go in ready to go and have my system and if it needs to be fine-tuned we'll make that judgment."

Sandberg also said he'd probably lean toward being aggressive in calling for replay.

"It will be a feel," Sandberg said. "If it comes down to a play in the first inning or third inning and you say, this is a big play, let's challenge it. No question you use them. I'd say be aggressive and use them."

Managers have one challenge to use in the game's first six innings; they get another if they win the challenge. After the sixth inning, umpires can regularly review any questionable plays.


Bob McClure said lefthander Jesse Biddle and righthander Ethan Martin are tentatively on tap to start tomorrow's intrasquad game at Bright House Field. The game begins at noon and admission is free. Others scheduled to pitch: David Buchanan, Justin De Fratus, Luis Garcia, Jeremy Horst, Cesar Jimenez, Shawn Camp and Kenny Giles . . . Cesar Hernandez took reps at shortstop during infield practice yesterday. Hernandez has played just three games at shortstop since 2007, but the Phillies are likely attempting to increase his versatility. Hernandez is competing with Kevin Frandsen, Ronny Cedeno and Reid Brignac for a job as a reserve infielder for the major league bench . . . The Phillies will be off the field at the Carpenter Complex a bit earlier than usual to take part in the organization's annual golf tournament. Starting pitchers Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett and Kyle Kendrick all ended up on the same six-man team . . . Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs will be introduced as Comcast SportsNet's new color analysts in a press gathering this morning. They'll make their TV debut in Wednesday's Grapefruit League opener against the Toronto Blue Jays at 1:05 p.m.

On Twitter: @ryanlawrence21


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