Here’s something pretty cool.
Matt Cain launched a solo home run off opposing pitcher Cole Hamels in the top of the third inning this afternoon in Philadelphia. Not to be outdone, Hamels connected for a solo shot of his own off Cain in the bottom of the inning. No word on whether Hamels was whistling “Anything You Can Do” during his home run trot, but it can’t be ruled out.
Cain and Hamels are the first pitchers to homer off each other in the same game since Kevin Millwood and Denny Stark on May 18, 2002. Per ESPN’s Jayson Stark, they are the first pitchers to homer off each other in the same inning since Kevin Gross and Fernando Valenzuela did it on May 14, 1990.
There’s a chance Cain and Hamels could have more in common soon, as Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Phillies and Hamels are “moving in the right direction” in negotiations on a long-term contract extension. Cain’s $127.5 million commitment with the Giants is considered a starting point on negotiations for Hamels.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.