Cole Hamels is the latest Texas Rangers player to join Double-A Frisco for rehab work. He started the game Friday, finishing after three innings and throwing 35 pitches, 25 for strikes. This was his first rehab start since hitting the disabled list May 2. The left-handed pitcher has been suffering from a strained right oblique.
In my postgame interview with Hamels, I asked about his pitch count. Reports indicated prior to his start that he would be throwing somewhere between 55 and 60 pitches. After ending the game at 35, I was curious as to if he was feeling comfortable. Hamels stated that he threw more pitches in a bullpen session, immediately after coming out of the game.
When asked about how many total rehab starts he is scheduled to make, Hamels commented, “We’re just taking it a day at a time. This was the first step. We ultimately wanted three up-downs,” Hamels said. “Then another in the bullpen, that was four. You just build up the pitch count from there. The next time out, it’ll probably be about five or six. We’re just trying to build up a pitch count.”
In the first inning, Hamels allowed a hard-hit single to right field. Hamels pitched into two groundouts, and one lineout to left field. The only ball hit deep was a foul to right field. He threw 12 pitches, nine for strikes. In the second, Hamels tossed 10 pitches, seven for strikes. The first out was a deep fly ball, out to center field. He got his first strikeout in this inning, as the runner went down swinging. He added another K, as that runner went down looking.
In the third, Hamels struck out one and threw into both a groundout and a flyout. The groundout went to the first baseman, and Hamels was able to cover the bag. He tossed 13 pitches, nine for strikes. He finished the game after 3.0 innings pitched, striking out three, walking none, and giving up one single.
Overall, Hamels looked solid. He didn’t appear to strain or struggle. When I asked if he had any soreness or tightness, Hamels replied “No. I feel great. And now I can finally get a little bit deeper (in pitch count).”
His fastest pitch was clocked at 93 MPH. “I’m at Spring Training velocity right now,” Hamels said. “Being down for five, six weeks, getting into the competition, I would say this is more my Spring Training velocity. Once you get to that 90-100 pitch count, that’s where you develop the endurance and strength, and everything can go from there.”
Some reports are indicating that Hamels will make approximately three rehab starts before being considered to return to the Texas Rangers.
More Rehab Reports From Frisco
Napoli and Gomez both spent time with the RoughRiders for their own rehab assignments this week. You can read about their games in Frisco here. They have since returned to the Rangers.
The Rangers are struggling to make a Wild Card spot. Getting Cole Hamels healthy and ready for Major League Baseball play is important for the team. They will need all hands on deck, to make a run for any kind of playoff contention.
Follow Blake Cole, Senior Baseball Writer for The Inscriber, on Twitter (@blakeacole) for more news on Cole Hamels, the Texas Rangers, and their Minor League Baseball affiliates.