Today the Philadelphia Phillies‘ pitchers and catchers reported for their first workout, and there is already big news coming out of camp. Ace Cole Hamels is already behind schedule, and he told reporters this morning he will miss opening day.
Biceps tendonitis is going to keep him out on opening day. Hamels believes he will be able to start the Phillies home opener as they start the season on the road. It seems as if Hamels is not too worried about his condition, yet the team seems concerned. They just announced a one-year deal with pitcher A.J Burnett worth $16 million.
He played the last two seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and many believed he was considering retirement. Last season Burnett had an ERA of 3.30, and his record of 10-11 was better than Hamels’. He only gave up 11 home runs and struck out 209 batters. No one wants to see Hamels miss time, but Burnett is going to fill in the rotation nicely and allow the Phillies to have a top three rotation once again when Hamels returns.
No one knows how long Hamels is going to be out. Tendonitis never goes away as Chase Utley has been battling it in his knees for a few seasons now. As a pitcher I would think it would be a longer process. Hamels should take as long as he needs to come back so he doesn’t mess up his arm permanently.
General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. made the right decision by signing Burnett. He signed a strong, experienced pitcher who can allow the Phillies to win which I don’t think anyone really expected. Burnett is no Hamels, and he has some big shoes to fill.