Burnett joins Phillies’ staff, Hamels could miss time

Cole Hamels will miss opening day, but could be ready as soon as the Phillies' home opener on April 7.
Cole Hamels will miss opening day, but could be ready as soon as the Phillies’ home opener on April 7. Credit: Getty Images

While hosting his annual pitching clinic in Boothwyn three months ago, Cole Hamels was smiling from ear to ear.

“I feel as good as I’ve ever felt,” Hamels said. “I’m in great shape. I can’t wait for the season to begin.”

Well, Hamels will have to wait a little bit. The Phillies ace, who helped the team win a World Series championship in 2008, won’t pitch on Opening Day against the Rangers in Texas. Hamels is suffering from shoulder tendinitis. He’s about a week behind the other Phillies pitchers.

Hamels plans to pitch in April. Good thing the Phillies added pitching depth by signing A.J. Burnett.

The big righthander, who had a career year with the Pirates in 2012 by leading the NL in groundball rate and strikeout rate, signed a one-year $16 million deal.

Burnett, 37, gives the Phillies an impressive innings eater. Burnett, who posted a .3.30 ERA, has made at least 30 starts in each of the last six seasons.

“It’s a huge signing for the Phillies,” a NL scout said. “Now the Phillies staff is comparable with the Braves and Nationals. It gives the Phillies much more depth.”

The trickle down effect should help the Phillies bullpen. Kyle Kendrick will be slotted in the fourth spot in the rotation. Roberto Hernandez and Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez will battle for the bottom of the rotation.

The loser of that fight will be destined for the bullpen, which could use a boost in 2014.

Burnett’s signing is a nice surprise. After the season ended, Burnett told a Pittsburgh radio station that he would either return to the Pirates or retire. Up until recently, it appeared that Burnett would opt for the latter. But as spring training approached, he reconsidered. Burnett decided he wanted to play but stay within driving distance of his Monkton, Maryland home and he apparently sought a salary comparable to the $16.5 million he made last year. The Pirates, who failed to deliver a $14.1 million qualifying offer for Burnett, only paid half of his salary the last two years. His prior employer, the Yankees, footed the remainder of that bill.

The Pirates, who have assembled their rotation, were not in a position to spend the kind of money the Phillies offered Burnett, who is close friends with Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock.

Can Burnett be the difference between being an also-ran and a contender?

“Yes,” a NL scout said. “He’s a big upgrade over what the Phillies have after Lee and Hamels. He could be the difference in a number of games and that might be enough for the Phillies to make the playoffs. Other things have to go right for the Phillies (to contend) but they made a wise move by going with Burnett.”

Burnett is an emotional athlete, who tells it like it is. After blasting his team in 2005 following a lack of offensive support, the Marlins asked Burnett to leave the squad. “I don’t think anyone cares more than A.J.,” former Pirates teammate Jason Grilli said.

Burnett throws four pitches, a four-seam fastball, a sinker, a knuckle curve and a changeup. Don’t depend on Burnett defensively. He leads active pitchers with 33 errors.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Memorial held for Sean Collier, MIT police officer…

More than 1,600 people gathered at MIT on Friday for a memorial service for Sean Collier, the police officer shot to death a year ago in the aftermath of the…

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NHL

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump…

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump Bruins in Game 1

MLB

MLB video highlights: Orioles top Red Sox, 8-4…

John Lackey roughed up for second straight outing

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.