Former Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels is on the mend and hopes to make his Braves debut in the coming weeks
While it has yet to occur, former World Series-winning Philadelphia Phillies ace Cole Hamels debuting with the division-rival Atlanta Braves appears to be inevitable.
Braves manager Brian Snitker announced on Friday that the 14-year veteran and four-time All-Star — placed on the 45-day injured list just before Opening Day in late July with left triceps tendinitis — will throw live batting practice on Sunday at the team’s Gwinnett alternate training site.
The appearance will mark the first time Hamels faces live hitters since he was placed on the injured list; afterward, Snitker and the Braves will re-evaluate Hamels and determine the next steps.
Update, 9/8: According to The Athletic’s David O’Brien, Hamels could be activated as early as next week to start against the Baltimore Orioles (either September 15 or 16).
“Snitker believes Hamels will probably need a couple of those, but they are hopeful he could be pitching some innings soon,” FOX Sports’ Kelly Crull reports.
The 36-year-old’s triceps tendinitis is not the only injury the left-hander has struggled with this season, as he dealt with a shoulder issue back in spring training.
Hamels is on a one-year, $18 million deal with the Braves, after posting a 3.81 ERA and 143-to-56 strikeout-to-walk ratio spanning 141 2/3 innings and 27 starts last season with the Chicago Cubs.
Set to enter free agency again this offseason, you have to wonder if the injury-riddled Hamels will be in a starting rotation come the 2021 season.
The good news is, if Hamels can return at some point during the shortened 2020 regular season and debut as a Brave, it will not come against the Phillies. The two teams recently finished off their 10th and final meeting, a 12-10 high-scoring game that was nationally televised on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. Overall, the Phillies and Braves split the 10 games, with manager Joe Girardi‘s squad finishing strong by winning three of the last four.
While the Phillies currently trail the Braves by two games for first place in the National League East, they lead the Miami Marlins by 2 1/2 games for the second division postseason spot. Both the Phillies and Braves, if they continue to separate themselves from the rest of the division, appear to be postseason-bound. It will be interesting to see if Hamels can make an impact for the Braves during the remaining weeks of the season.