Phillies physician Dr. Michael Ciccotti was able to alleviate the worst of fears about Cole Hamels sore left elbow. The diagnosis is "mild inflammation" and Ciccotti injected an anti-inflammatory into the joint and told Hamels not to throw for a couple of days.
The worst diagnosis would have been that Hamels needed Tommy John surgery, but Ciccotti saw no sign of anything more severe and certainly didn't see any structural damage in the elbow that could have led to surgery.
Hamels should be able to start throwing again in a couple days and resume his normal workout and pitching routine after that.
For their part though, the Phillies are going to be cautious with their ace starter. Twice before, elbow pain has shelved Hamels. In 2004, he missed most of the season while pitching for Clearwater because of elbow problems and also missed most of the 2006 season with a sore elbow.
Phillies head trainer, Scott Sheridan, believes that this time, the problem was caught early enough so that it didn't cause any serious issues for Hamels.
"A similar condition, but that was a lot more significant," Sheridan said. "He was much more tender and a lot less productive at that time than he is now. He was not able to throw at that point in time."
Hamels was set to pitch against Atlanta in the season opener on April 5th, but the Phillies aren't writing that in stone, just yet. Instead, they'll wait to see how Hamels progresses before making a final decision on who will start in the opener.