Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cole Hamels' Elbow Makes Me Nervous

Following the evolving news about Cole Hamels' sore left elbow has become very taxing this week.

First came the disconcerting news Monday that the Phillies' 25-year-old ace was leaving the Phils' spring training site in Clearwater, Fla. to have his sore arm examined by team doctor Michael Ciccotti.

Then came the slightly-more-upbeat news Tuesday that Ciccotti examined Hamels and found no structural damage in the elbow, only inflammation.

But then Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said later Tuesday that Hamels would be a long shot to start the Phils' season opener against Atlanta on April 5.

And now Hamels is saying today he is still focusing on being ready to start Opening Day, and fans "don't need to jump on the bandwagon of freaking out."

I am trying not to freak out, and in the big picture of this season, whether Hamels is ready to pitch on April 5 isn't going to make or break the season as long as he isn't out for too long.

Brett Myers started the opener last season, and everything worked out pretty well.

But the Hamels news is the latest in a string of bad omens this offseason.

Chase Utley needed surgery on his hip in November and while his recovery has been quicker than originally anticipated, it is still is not 100 percent certain he will be ready to start the season. Pedro Feliz has a bad back, and J.C. Romero got suspended for 50 games for using a banned substance.

All of these things could turn out to be much ado about nothing, but they could also be the first signs of a World Series Hangover season.

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