Hamels Season Might Be Over

Call them overly cautious, but the Phillies are so concerned about Cole Hamels sore elbow that he may be shut down for the rest of the season. The prime prospect was in Philadelphia last week for more testing and there is no target date set for Hamels to start throwing and some believe that date won't be anytime during this season.

If not for a broken arm in high school, Cole Hamels would likely not be a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. The injury scared away many scouts from suggesting to their friends at the office that their team use a high draft pick on a kid who had broken his arm in high school. It didn't scare away the Phillies though and they decided to take a shot and drafted Hamels right out of high school, in the first round of the 2002 Draft.

Funny how fate works.

While everybody focused on Hamels' broken left arm and worried how it would hold up to the rigors of pitching in professional baseball, that injury hasn't been what has caused problems for Hamels early on in his career. At least not from what doctors can tell.

After missing time early in the season because of elbow inflammation that developed in spring training, Hamels was again out of the rotation by mid-June with more inflammation. There is no reason to believe that the injury is caused in any way from his broken arm. For right now, there is no definitive reason for the problems that Hamels has had with his left elbow. The Phillies hope that simply shutting Hamels down for an extended period of time will take care of the problem.

So, just what is an extended period of time?

Some sources believe that the Phillies won't allow Hamels to pick up a baseball again this season. One thing is certain and that is that the Phillies will be overly cautious. Hamels return would be basically like that of Vicente Padilla, which means that once he starts to soft-toss, it would be at least three weeks after that until he could pitch competitively. At least. For now, the Phillies don't believe that Hamels will even start to throw at all for another month and perhaps longer. That timetable would pretty much kill his season and there is no reason to bring him back for one or two more starts. Instead, the Phillies will decide later whether they want Hamels to pitch during the offseason in either the Arizona Fall League or the Florida Instructional League. It's more likely that the Phillies would keep Hamels in the FIL so they can better monitor his progress and condition.

Outwardly, the Phillies suggest that the injury is nothing to worry about. They talk about how unfortunate it is that Hamels has to go through this, but insist that there is no fear of him continuing to have problems in the future. There are some though that believe Hamels may have more serious problems and that the injury could be worse than the Phillies are letting on. Some believe that Hamels may have done damage to his elbow this past spring when he pitched with pain in the elbow during camp.

Nobody in the organization will talk about the results of an MRI that Hamels underwent last week in Philadelphia. It's believed that the MRI didn't show anything drastic and that rest is all that is prescribed for the Phillies prospect. With that in mind, the Phillies are willing to allow Hamels to take the rest that doctors feel is necessary and perhaps, even a little more. If all goes as planned, Hamels could come back 100% for next season and easily start the year at AA Reading. Some think though that the Phillies caution with Hamels will extend into next season and that they'll restart him at Clearwater so as not to put any pressure on him to adjust to a new level.

Meanwhile, there is better news on a couple other fronts. Zack Segovia is doing well in his rehab work after Tommy John surgery and Terry Jones (fractured heel) is back on the field, playing in the Gulf Coast League. After some time in the GCL, the Phillies will move Jones back up through the organization. Padilla (biceps tendinitis) may start to soft-toss either late this week or early next week and the Phillies hope he can return sometime in August.

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