Hamels Will Pitch In LA

Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Roy HalladayCole Hamels will rejoin the Phillies rotation next week in Los Angeles.

Ryne Sandberg said this afternoon at Coors Field that Hamels is most likely to start Wednesday against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium because it would allow the Phillies to split up left-handers Cliff Lee and Hamels with right-hander A.J. Burnett.

Lee is scheduled to pitch Monday. Burnett is scheduled to pitch Tuesday.

Hamels, who opened the season on the disabled list because of inflammation in his left shoulder, allowed one run in seven innings last night in his final rehab start with Class A Clearwater. He will join the team this weekend at Coors Field.

“Good reports on him,” Sandberg said. “Command was good. He was throwing strikes and throwing all of his pitches in the zone for strikes. That’s all good.”

Hamels opened Spring Training behind schedule after feeling shoulder discomfort in November. He expected to miss only a start or two until he suffered a setback March 1. At the time the Phillies said they hoped Hamels could rejoin the rotation sometime before May 1.

Technically, he came back a little earlier than expected.

It could be a big boost for a struggling pitching staff. Lee allowed one run and struck out 13 in a complete-game loss Wednesday against the Braves. Burnett threw seven scoreless innings yesterday in a victory over the Braves. The Phillies opened Spring Training with high expectations for the top of their rotation. If Lee, Burnett and Hamels pitch like they have pitched in the past, the Phillies should have a formidable rotation.

“I think those guys set a tone of what could be to come with adding Hamels to the rotation,” Sandberg said.

Hamels will make his home debut at Citizens Bank Park against the Mets on April 29.

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