Longtime Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels hopes to pitch again.
The left-hander has not pitched in an MLB game since the shortened 2020 season, but he now appears to be recovered from multiple medical procedures and can return at full strength.
Last week, Hamels threw a bullpen session in front of scouts of pitching-needy teams. MLB insider Jon Heyman reports that he was "insanely good" during his return to the mound.
Hamels, 39, had some terrific years with the Phillies. He made three All-Star teams and finished in the top 10 of Cy Young Award voting four times. He holds a career 163-122 record, along with a 3.43 ERA. He is just 440 strikeouts short of joining the 3,000-strikeout club.
More notably for Hamels was his spectacular postseason run during the Phillies' 2008 World Series-winning season. In what was just his third year in MLB, Hamels pitched to a combined 1.80 ERA throughout the postseason. His performance earned him both NLCS MVP and World Series MVP honors. Hamels even started Game 5 that clinched the series win against the Tampa Bay Rays, throwing six innings of two-run ball.
Since Hamels departed from the team at the 2015 trade deadline, he has pitched for the Texas Rangers, Chicago Cubs, and Atlanta Braves. Although he did not have as much success as a member of any of these teams, he did make an All-Star team in 2016 as a Ranger.
This is not the first time Hamels has attempted an MLB comeback. In August of 2021, he signed a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers in hopes to be healthy for October baseball. Instead, a shoulder injury set him back and he did not throw a pitch with them. The Dodgers did not offer Hamels a follow-up contract after that season.
By definition, the Phillies do not classify as one of the "pitching-needy" teams that would be interested in Hamels. He could be given a spring training invite to fight for the spot as their fifth starter, but it is extremely unlikely.
The next time Hamels will put on Phillies pinstripes could be if he signs a ceremonial contract before his retirement. Regardless of where he ends up, fans can rejoice to hear that Hamels is getting his MLB career back on track.