"I was really thoroughly impressed with the way I've been feeling all week," Hamels said. "The past couple days with recovering and still being able to maintain the exercises and the strength program without any hiccups or even having to take it back a notch. I've really been able to bounce back really well."
Hamels entered camp behind schedule after battling biceps tendinitis in November. He wasn't able to go through his normal offseason throwing program.
After rebooting that program last month, Hamels suffered a setback, complaining of fatigue following a bullpen session on March 1. He wasn't strong enough to face hitters later that week.
But, 10 days later, Hamels' progression was back on track. He expects to throw another bullpen session on Wednesday, followed by a live batting-practice session.
"My strength is now there," Hamels said.
Interstate plunk song
Five different batters were plunked with pitches yesterday when the Pirates handed the Phillies a 5-0 defeat. A total of 12 batters have been hit by pitches in the three games between the teams.
"There has been either a coincidence or numerous hit by pitches by the Pirates," manager Ryne Sandberg said coyly. "It kind of works its way out there."
Two weeks earlier, Cody Asche was one of four Phillies hit during the first meeting of the spring between the teams. Asche missed the next two games with a bruised right hand.
Yesterday, Asche was hit in the right hip with a 95-mph fastball from Pittsburgh righthander Brian Morris in the fifth inning. Asche was the first batter of the inning, which came a half inning after Jonathan Papelbon plunked Pittsburgh's Starling Marte and brushed back reigning NL MVP Andrew McCutchen.
"Maybe they're trying to pitch inside," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "There are a lot of things you work on in spring training."
McCutchen yelled something after Papelbon's pitch. Asche glared toward Morris after being hit.
"Whatever," Asche said after the game. "It's just a part of the game."
In addition to hitting a batter, Jonathan Papelbon allowed two runs on three hits in the fifth inning. It was the closer's second straight uncertain outing. He gave up four runs (all unearned, following a Maikel Franco error) on four hits and a walk against the Braves on March 10. "Stuffwise I thought he was OK," pitching coach Bob McClure said. "His location is still a little rusty." Papelbon's fastball topped out at 92-mph, hovering mostly between 90-91 . . . Mike Adams will pitch in his first game since June on Wednesday, when he is scheduled to throw in a minor league game at the Carpenter Complex. McClure was encouraged after watching the veteran set-up man's second straight session of facing hitters on Saturday: "It went very well, really well," he said. Adams had shoulder surgery on July 31 . . . Jonathan Pettibone is tentatively scheduled to pitch in a minor league game today. Pettibone, sidelined with shoulder soreness at the beginning of camp, hopes to catch up in time to be a candidate for the fifth starter job. The Phils won't need a fifth starter until April 13 . . . Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez may resume throwing today, McClure said. The pitching coach called Gonzalez's current shoulder soreness "minimal." Gonzalez hasn't pitched in a game since March 7; he was diagnosed with anterior shoulder soreness on Wednesday. Gonzalez, 27, has allowed five runs on six hits and six walks in two Grapefruit League games this spring after signing a 3-year, $12 million deal as a free agent out of Cuba in August.
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