Philadelphia Phillies Battling Health and Adding Depth

Philadelphia Phillies Spring Training

Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

This has been quite the first week for the Philadelphia Phillies. Wednesday morning it was announced that Cole Hamels would not be ready for opening day due to tendinitis in his left biceps. A few short hours later, Ruben Amaro Jr. signed A.J. Burnett to a one-year, $16 million contract.

If the Phillies are going to succeed this season, they will need to stay healthy. They are just four days into camp with their pitchers and catchers and are already having trouble keeping players on the field. Over the past couple of seasons, the aging Phillies have battled numerous injury problems to star players.

Although Hamels’ injury is not thought to be anything major it is still a concern. Any time a pitcher is having discomfort in their throwing arm you have to keep an eye on it and wonder how long it might linger. Hamels will be a key contributor and remains one of their star players and the Phillies will rely on him heavily this season.

Kudos to Amaro for signing Burnett; he will add depth to the starting rotation and should give the team a solid right handed starter. Numbers wise, the last two seasons have been two of Burnett’s best seasons of his long career. Last season he made 30 starts, sported a career-best 3.30 ERA, racked up 209 strikeouts and allowed only 67 walks.

Don’t expect the 37-year-old to maintain those numbers this season, but will more realistically carry around a 4.00 ERA. While $16 million is a lofty pay day, the Phillies are more competitive with Burnett on their roster.

Jonathan Pettibone did not throw his scheduled bullpen today due to tightness in his right shoulder. This could be more bad news for the Phillies as Pettibone was going to have a chance to be in the starting rotation. Pettibone ended last season on the DL with the same problem and it is not good news that he is again having soreness in his pitching arm. The Phillies did catch it earlier this go around and hopefully he will be back on the mound soon.

The Phillies cannot afford any more injuries or setbacks if they want to get back in a playoff race. They’re not even five days into camp and they are already banged up. Hopefully Hamels’ and Pettibone’s arm problems will only be minor and will not linger.

John Rader is a Phillies writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @jcrader, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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