Cole Hamels Injured in Altercation

Cole Hamels and two other Phillies minor league prospects were attacked outside a Clearwater nightclub early Saturday morning. The ensuing fight ended with Hamels suffering a broken bone in his pitching hand. He'll likely not be able to pitch competitively until May.

Five friends, three of them prospects in the Phillies' organization and two others from the Blue Jays organization were involved in an altercation early Saturday morning. The group was attacked by another group of people, who according to reports, came up behind them and started the fight. The identity of the other prospects involved in the attack hasn't been released.

"I'm definitely worried about my hand," Hamels told Jim Salisbury of the Philadelphia Inquirer in a phone interview. Hamels reported that the group had just left a nightclub at around 2 a.m. when another group of guys attacked them from behind. Hamels, was the designated driver and was the only person seriously injured in the incident.

Philadelphia hand specialist Dr. Randall Culp will put a pin in Hamels' left hand to repair a broken bone. Hamels broke the fifth metacarpal, a bone just under his small finger. The pin will be removed after about three weeks and Hamels will have to wait another three weeks until he can do light throwing. To reach a level where he can throw at a competitive level, may take up to three months. "I'll be ready April 4," said an optimistic Hamels in the Inquirer interview.

The latest injury is a setback to the 21 year old pitcher, who was doing well in rehabbing a sore elbow that caused him to miss much of the 2004 season. It had just been announced a couple weeks ago that Hamels would get an invitation to major league camp this spring. The hand surgery will wipe out any chance of Hamels being able to pitch in camp.

Hamels is a former first round pick who has had to come back from various injuries throughout his young career. The injuries started with a broken left arm in high school and continued with elbow problems that have been described as minor by the Phillies minor league staff during his minor league career.

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