Hamels Could Be Back Soon

Cole Hamels, Kevin YoukilisCole Hamels could rejoin the Phillies rotation a little earlier than expected.

He made a rehab start Sunday with Class A Clearwater, throwing about 65 pitches. He said he believes he will be ready to pitch in the big leagues once he builds to 90 pitches. He might need just two more rehab starts to hit that number. If that is the case, he will make rehab starts Friday and April, which would put him on course to pitch for the Phillies on April 21 or 22.

“I feel really good,” he said today at Citizens Bank Park. “My strength is definitely increasing. Just building up, getting out there, getting the reps in. Being able to throw all five pitches, is truly a good test. Because you’re going against guys that are competitive, they’re swinging. So you have to throw strikes and you have to execute pitches. But everything went really well. Health-wise, I feel really great.

“I believe the big test is the pitch count. If I’m able to get 90 pitches, I know that I’m game ready. Because that gives me enough pitches and enough reps with my pitches to be able to go out there and have the confidence I can throw, especially to big league guys. … There’s nothing lingering. I’m ready to go and they’re letting me go. And I think that’s where we’re really going, we’re playing it by ear, where we have the proper structure and they’re not pushing me too fast, too quickly. And i think everything is going really well.”

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