Phillies Notes: Hamels could be pitching for Phils in 2 weeks

Posted: April 10, 2014

Cole Hamels joined his teammates Tuesday for opening festivities at Citizens Bank Park, and he could return to the rotation in two weeks.

Hamels said his arm has strengthened faster than first expected. He amended his original prediction of six minor-league starts; five could be enough to recover from biceps tendinitis. He plans to make two more starts for single-A Clearwater. That pegs him for a possible return April 22 in Los Angeles.

"I do feel really great," Hamels said. "Everything has been going really well in between days, the day after, my bullpens. I feel nothing is in the back of my mind. There's nothing lingering. I'm ready to go, and they're letting me go."

Hamels threw 50 pitches last Sunday for Clearwater and 15 more in the bullpen afterward. He is scheduled for about 75 pitches in Friday's start. Hamels believes the magic number for being "game ready" is 90 pitches; the team has increased him by 15 in every outing.

"He's feeling good about everything," Ryne Sandberg said, "so that's going well."

The Phillies will need a fifth starter Saturday and on April 17. Hamels could assume that spot's next turn on April 22 against the Dodgers with an extra day of rest.

It appears that Jonathan Pettibone will occupy Hamels' spot for two starts. He is slated to pitch Saturday for triple-A Lehigh Valley, and that is when the Phillies will require a fifth starter for the first time in 2014.

The Phillies could also shift Jeff Manship from the bullpen to the rotation, although he is not stretched out. Manship is out of options.

David Buchanan, who enjoyed a strong spring, threw 93 pitches in five innings Tuesday for the IronPigs. He would have to start Saturday on short rest, which is unlikely. Sandberg said roster politics should not have an effect on the decision, although Pettibone is on the 40-man roster and Buchanan is not.

"It's more . . . performance-based and who we think is the right guy and ready for the task and who makes sense as far as quality, giving us a chance to win," Sandberg said. "We have two or three choices. We'll make a decision in the next day or two on that."

Extra bases

Without Chase Utley (flu) in the lineup, Carlos Ruiz batted third for the first time in his career. . . . Freddy Galvis (MRSA infection) started at third base Tuesday for single-A Clearwater after playing in extended spring-training games during the weekend. He could be activated before the week ends. . . . Righthander Mike Adams (shoulder surgery) pitched a scoreless inning for Clearwater. . . . Ben Revere was credited by Major League Baseball with another stolen base from opening day, which gives him five for the season. It was originally scored as defensive indifference. . . . Jamie Moyer, with assistance from Steve Carlton, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. . . . There were scattered boos for just one Phillies player, Jonathan Papelbon, during pregame introductions.

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