Results tagged ‘ Bob McClure ’

Lee, Harang Issues Leave Rotation in Flux

cliff lee magic eight ballCole Hamels will pitch tomorrow against the Orioles at Bright House Field, which puts him on a five-day schedule to start Opening Day.

Hamels as the Opening Day starter is a no-brainer.

But what about the other spots? Some remain up in the air because of health issues. Cliff Lee is trying beat the odds and pitch with a torn common flexor tendon in his left elbow. He did not throw today, but at this point, even if he can pitch with an injured elbow, it is highly unlikely he could be ready by early April.

“He said his arm felt pretty good,” Phillies pitching coach Bob McClure said. “He just doesn’t want to push it. That’s what he told me.”

Aaron Harang has been scratched twice this month because of “lower back discomfort,” but is scheduled to throw a bullpen session tomorrow. If that goes well, McClure said Harang will pitch Thursday against the Yankees.

“He said he can catch up,” McClure said.

Chad Billingsley threw a successful bullpen session today. He is recovering from a pair of elbow surgeries. The Phillies said he could be ready to join the rotation before the end of April.

“Exceptional,” McClure said about Billingsley’s bullpen. “You would never know he was hurt. It’s quality stuff. It really is.”

McClure said after two or three more live batting practice sessions Billingsley could pitch in a game.

Hamels’ Latest Step

Cole Hamels remains about a month behind schedule, but the Phillies hope he could rejoin the rotation before the end of April.

He threw a live batting practice session this morning at Bright House Field. He threw two simulated innings of 15 pitches each. He said earlier this week he would throw two BP sessions before he pitched in a game.

“I feel great,” Hamels said. “Just all the progressions I’ve been able to make for the last week and a half have definitely been positive. … I think we’re just looking kind of how I respond in the next couple days and getting bullpen reps and seeing where and what they want to do.”

Hamels opened camp in February about two weeks behind schedule because of inflammation in his left shoulder. He had been progressing nicely once he started throwing again, until he suffered a setback March 1, saying he felt fatigue in his left arm. That pushed him back further, but since he restarted his throwing program recently he has been fine.

“Oh, of course,” said Hamels, asked if he is more optimistic he could be back earlier than he thought two weeks ago.

Phillies pitching coach Bob McClure seemed encouraged with what he saw Saturday.

“Ball was coming out of his hand really well,” he said. “Crisp, real clean. Didn’t hold back on any pitches. Had velocity and life. I was really happy with it. He’s had no issues of late. I don’t expect any either. We’re pretty stoked about it.”

If Hamels can rejoin the rotation before the end of April it would be a big boost for the Phillies. They need plenty of things to be close to perfect to compete this season.

“If everything goes as scheduled, I would think towards the end of the month there,” McClure said of Hamels’ potential return. “Somewhere in the last week, I would think so.”

Phillies Hire Pitching Coach McClure

mcclureThe Phillies finally have a pitching coach.

More than seven weeks since they told Rich Dubee he would not be back next season, they announced this afternoon they have hired Bob McClure.

They also announced Rod Nichols will return as bullpen coach and Jesus Tiamo will return as bullpen catcher.

The Phillies interviewed at least 12 candidates for the pitching coach vacancy and previously offered the job to Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell and Pirates special assistant to the general manager Jim Benedict. Both declined. They also interviewed Randy St. Claire, Rafael Chaves, Carl Willis, Pete Vuckovich, Reid Cornelius, Ray Burris, Neil Allen, Jeff Pico and Nichols.

McClure, 61, pitched 19 seasons in the big leagues with the Royals, Brewers, Expos, Mets, Angels, Cardinals and Marlins. He was Royals pitching coach from 2006-11 and Red Sox pitching coach in 2012, although he did not last the season because of differences with former manager Bobby Valentine.

The Phillies still plan on hiring somebody to replace assistant hitting coach Wally Joyner, who left the organization in October, returning a couple weeks later only to leave again recently for the Tigers head hitting coach job.

Phillies Pitching Coach Watch

A more than seven-week search for the next Phillies pitching coach could be nearing an end.

The Phillies have interviewed at least 12 candidates, but Ruben Amaro Jr. indicated this afternoon he might be close to finding somebody to finally replace Rich Dubee, who served that role nine seasons before they told him that he would not return.

“We’re hopeful to make an announcement or make a decision soon,” Amaro said.

Amaro declined to discuss candidates, but sources have said the Phillies offered the job to Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell and Pirates special assistant to the general manager Jim Benedict. Both declined.

In recent days they have interviewed Bob McClure, Randy St. Claire, Rafael Chaves and Carl Willis, each of whom has been a pitching coach in the big leagues. In previous weeks they have interviewed McDowell, Benedict, Mariners special assistant to the general manager Pete Vuckovich, Phillies bullpen coach Rod Nichols, Marlins bullpen coach Reid Cornelius, Triple-A Lehigh Valley pitching coach Ray Burris, Triple-A Durham pitching coach Neil Allen and Diamondbacks Minor League field coordinator Jeff Pico.

Pico has since been named Reds pitching coach.


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