After giving up three runs on six hits and four walks over five innings in a loss to the Nationals last night, Cole Hamels told John R. Finger of CSNPhilly.com that he is going through a dead-arm phase.
“It’s just one of those times in the year where you’re traveling and pitching a lot of innings, things kind of amount and you just have to get through it,” Hamels explained. “If you’re able to battle through it and things go well, you don’t notice it and you keep on moving.”
Hamels, who tossed his second complete game of the season in his previous outing last Saturday against the Giants, was pulled after throwing just 88 pitches. The southpaw averaged just 88.55 mph on his fastball last night and topped out at 91.6 mph, according to Brooks Baseball. He is averaging 91.1 mph on his fastball this season.
While Hamels downplayed the situation following the game, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com that he had trouble getting loose because of stiffness in his left shoulder. While the results have been there, this doesn’t appear to be an isolated incident for Hamels, as Zolecki notes that the velocity on his fastball has dropped in each of his last five starts.
Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.
Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.
Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.
Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that third baseman Jose Ramirez is finalizing a four-year extension with the Indians. The deal is said to be worth north of $30 million, and may crest $50 million if all options are exercised. While the extension won’t take effect until the 2018 season, it guarantees Ramirez a $26 million sum with two options worth $11 and $13 million and will give the Indians control of the infielder through the 2023 season.
Ramirez, 24, is entering his fifth season in the Indians’ organization. He posted career-high numbers during his first full season in the majors, slashing .312/.363/.461 with 11 home runs, 22 stolen bases and 4.8 fWAR in 2016. He’s projected to have a strong follow-up season at the plate and will likely see some time at second base as Jason Kipnis works his way back from a shoulder injury.
Although 2016 only showcased the beginning of Ramirez’s success with the club, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman says it’s a standard move for Cleveland to “sign their stars early,” and indicates that Ramirez was rumored to want the deal. Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors adds that the extension will keep Ramirez under club control through three arbitration-eligible years and one year of potential free agency.