Cole Hamels: "No problems"

Cole Hamels looks for a return to the Clearwater Threshers in the not too distant future. After an encouraging side session on Friday, the timetable for his return is starting to come into focus.

Cole Hamels threw a strong side session Friday in his comeback from hand surgery just prior to the season. Hamels threw 45 pitches and will throw a bullpen session on Tuesday. "I feel good," said Hamels after the session. "No problems."

That was good news for Mike Arbuckle, the Phillies assistant general manager, who was on hand partly to watch Hamels throw.

The plan is to build Hamels up to where he can throw three innings before having him join the Threshers roster. Hamels and the Phillies figure that he should be able to pitch in a game in two or two and a half weeks if all continues to go well.

In addition to throwing on the side, Hamels took part in other basic pitching drills as part of his workout Friday at the Phillies minor league camp.

In other news out of Clearwater, Jim Thome said that the discomfort that he felt after Thursday's game in extended camp had disappeared. He left Clearwater late Friday and will join the team in Baltimore to be activated for Saturday's game against the Orioles. To make room for Thome, Ryan Howard was optioned back to AAA Scranton Wilkes-Barre.

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