Monday, September 17, 2007

Hamels to return Tuesday

By Michael Rushton
The Phanatic Magazine

Cole Hamels is officially listed as the Phillies' starter on Tuesday against the St. Louis Cardinals.

It was speculated and reported over the weekend that Hamels would return on Tuesday, but as of Sunday, the Phillies still had not listed a starter for the contest in their game notes. However, Monday's edition of the notes lists Hamels as the starter.

The left-handed ace had a pain-free throwing session on Saturday, and afterwards pronounced himself ready to go, an idea the Phillies agreed with on Monday.

"It really felt good," Hamels told the Phillies' official Web site on Saturday of the 55-pitch session. "It felt 100 times better than my last bullpen that I wasn't able to finish. I threw everything and that was the best feeling, knowing I was throwing my fastball from both sides. It was jumping."

Hamels will most likely be on a pitch count in what will be his first start since August 16 before he landed on the 15-day disabled list due to a strained left elbow. The lefty is 14-5 this season with a 3.50 earned run average in 25 starts with 156 strikeouts.

The hope now is that the Phillies aren't rushing back their 23-year-old ace back too soon. However, with the club just 1 1/2 games back of the San Diego Padres in the wild card race, and now back in the hunt for the NL East title as well after another sweep of the Mets, the club may have little choice.

J.D. Durbin will return to the bullpen to make room for Hamels in the rotation.

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