Hamels' debut could be Friday
The Phillies' top prospect appears to be on the fast track to the big leagues.
By Todd Zolecki
One of the most eagerly awaited Phillies debuts in recent history could take place Friday in Cincinnati.
Team officials met yesterday to discuss the future of pitcher Cole Hamels, and there were strong indications they have decided that the prized lefthander will make his next start in the major leagues.
"We're close," assistant general manager Mike Arbuckle said. "It's not going to be much longer, but there are a few moving pieces we have to figure out and people we would have to talk to."
Ryan Madson and Gavin Floyd would be those moving pieces, but it's unclear which one would leave the rotation to make room for the Phillies' top prospect. But it makes sense that Hamels would pitch Friday against the Reds, because he is scheduled to pitch Friday for triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre against Ottawa.
Floyd is scheduled to pitch tomorrow night in the series finale against the Mets. Madson is scheduled to pitch Friday.
The Phillies could keep it simple and move Madson for Hamels, because their days to pitch coincide. Madson is 3-1, but he has a 6.82 earned run average. If he had enough innings to qualify, he would have the second-highest ERA in the National League. In 301/3 innings, he has allowed 49 hits and 16 walks, and has struck out 15. Opponents have hit .371 against him.
Madson also has had two successful seasons in the bullpen, which could be a factor. The Phillies may figure they would be strengthening the rotation and the bullpen at the same time.
Floyd, who also has struggled, isn't a candidate to move to the bullpen. If the Phillies move him, he likely will be sent to Scranton. But because the Phillies had Monday off, they conceivably could pitch Madson tomorrow night since he would have had his normal rest.
Hamels, 22, the team's first-round pick in 2002, has allowed a run, 10 hits and a walk with 36 strikeouts in 23 innings in Scranton. Opponents have hit just .128 against him. He is 14-4 with a 1.43 ERA in his minor-league career.
Hamels has had health issues in the past, but is fine now. The Phillies also have said they would like to see Hamels pitch more innings in the minors to gain more experience.
But Arbuckle said the innings pitched no longer are an issue.
Friday? Don't bet against it.
Contact staff writer Todd Zolecki at 215-854-4874 or firstname.lastname@example.org