If all was perfect, Cole Hamels would have been on the mound Wednesday night against the Dodgers, but after spending the afternoon getting an MRI of his valued left elbow, putting him on the shelf for his scheduled start.
The ace left-hander will miss a couple of starts with a "very mild" - the Phillies words, not ours - strain in his left elbow. Hamels will show up on the 15 day DL, but it will be retroactive to his last start and he'll be eligible to be activated September 1st. Hamels admitted that he's been experiencing on-again, off-again elbow soreness since an August 14 bullpen session.
Michael Ciccotti, the Phillies' team physician, diagnosed Hamels with a "mild medial elbow strain," and the MRI confirmed his diagnosis.
"When you have a doctor's prognosis, if it's good, it gets in your head mentally, and you can just move forward," Hamels said. "I know if I'm straightforward with the trainer and the team, it's a lot better. (Missing) two starts is a lot better than the rest of the season."
Hamels, 23, is 14-5 with a 3.50 ERA in 25 starts and has thrown 167 1/3 innings. Last season, he tossed 132 1/3 innings in 23 starts for the Phillies and another 49 innings in the minors. Ciccotti said this injury isn't linked to elbow soreness that sidelined Hamels for all but four starts in 2004.
"I know it's not serious because I've talked to guys who've had Tommy John (elbow) surgery, and they said, 'Can you do this or this?' I was able to do all those things," said Hamels, who said the pain is near the front of his elbow. "But it is an unusual discomfort. I wanted to be able to get it checked out."
Rookie right-hander J.D. Durbin will take Hamels' start Wednesday, and left-hander Fabio Castro, who was recalled Monday night to replace injured reliever Yoel Hernandez, will start Thursday afternoon against the Dodgers. With an open roster spot, the Phillies activated outfielder Shane Victorino, who finished his rehab assignment with a 1-for-3 performance Tuesday night in Reading's 1-0 win over Altoona, in a game where Carlos Carrasco threw a rain-shortened, six inning no-hitter. Rod Barajas caught the gem and was impressed with Carrasco. "The changeup is a real good pitch for him," Barajas said. "It's not a straight change; it has a little more downward action, kind of like a split-finger fastball. He throws it in the strike zone and he gets swings on it. As long as he's able to keep it over the plate he should be fine.