It appears that Cole Hamels will open his first season as an Atlanta Brave on the injured list.
Per Mark Bowman of MLB.com, Hamels will be shut down for three weeks with a left shoulder injury that he suffered while doing a workout that involved a medicine ball. Meanwhile, Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos told the collective media, including David O’Brien of The Athletic, that the four-time All-Star won’t be ready for Opening Day.
There was some thought this offseason that the 36-year-old, who spent the first nine-and-a-half seasons of his career with the Phillies, could return to Philadelphia. Instead, Hamels joined the division-rival Atlanta Braves, signing a one-year/$18 million deal. MLB.com‘s Todd Zolecki reported that the Phillies made an offer for Hamels that wasn’t competitive, suggesting that they offered the 2008 World Series MVP $9 million for the 2019 season.
Independent of Hamels’ history in Philadelphia, this is a development worth monitoring in what’s expected to be a heavily-contested National League East. If Hamels misses a start or two to begin the season, so be it. However, if this absence stretches out, it would obviously affect a Braves team that was hoping that Hamels could be a solid middle-of-the-rotation option as they attempt to win their fourth World Series title in franchise history.
A year ago, an oblique injury – one that he admitted he came back from too quickly – limited Hamels to just 27 starts. Across 141.2 frames, Hamels posted a 3.81 ERA and 4.09 FIP. It is worth noting, though, that Hamels was excellent after a July trade to the Cubs in 2018, posting a 2.36 ERA and 3.42 FIP in 12 starts.
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