Phillies have options with Cole Hamels out
Cole Hamels had a successful bullpen session earlier this week, and reports are saying he is 100 percent healthy and will likely be pitching in Grapefruit League games in about two weeks.
But his late start due to a bicep injury puts the top half of the Phillies pitching rotation in limbo until he returns.
Luckily, the schedule favors the Phillies tinkering with a four-man rotation when the season begins, assuming Hamels misses only two starts, the number pitching coach Bob McClure told reporters he would miss.
If Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett and Kyle Kendrick start the first series of the season in Texas against the Rangers, they have a day off before the No. 4 spot comes up.
This day off allows Cliff Lee to pitch the fifth game of the season on regular rest, the same with Burnett and Kendrick, before April 8, another day off.
The Phillies return home to open Citizens Bank Park against the Brewers on April 9, a game likely to beling to the fourth starter.
This is where Hamels, optimistically, can slip right into the action without forcing the Phillies to reach into Triple-A for a fifth starter.
Following their off-day prior to the home opener, the Phillies have 18 consecutive games without rest.