The Philadelphia Phillies received more bad news this morning regarding their starting rotation. Cole Hamels announced that he suffered a setback in his training and complained of a tired arm.
Hamels was already projected to miss opening day because of tendentious in his throwing arm. Now it seems he could miss a more substantial period of time.
Although they are not panicking and trying to downplay the setback, there should be major concern. Hamels still has five years left on his monster contract and is only 30 years old. 30 may not sound young, but for this Phillies team, 30 is the new 24.
This is right about on par for the club — player performs well, player gets big, long contract that lasts into their mid-30s, player gets hurt and never returns to form (Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Roy Halladay, Jimmy Rollins).
The Hamels injury and setback are not thought to be serious, but if they continue to pop up or become a serious problem, things could get ugly in the city of Brotherly Love.
In addition to Hamels injury, Miguel Alfredo Gonzales, Jonathan Pettibone and Ethan Martin are all behind schedule as well. A starting rotation that was supposed to feature depth and competition during spring is now turning into a last man standing contest.
There is talk that the Phillies might go with a four man rotation at the beginning of the season, but that would be a horrible idea. Although they may not have the solid five starters they planned to have for opening day, going to four starters is a bad idea. It will force pitchers to through without the proper rest they are accustomed to and could lead to further injuries.
Likely candidates to fill the fifth spot in the rotation would be David Buchanan, Jeff Manship and Sean O’Sullivan. Keep an eye on them as they may find some early season starts for the Phillies.