Via beat writer Jim Salisbury at CSNPhilly.com:
CLEARWATER, Fla. – Though still behind schedule and likely to miss one or two starts at the beginning of the regular season, Cole Hamels says he has made “tremendous progress” in bouncing back from an offseason bout of shoulder tendinitis.
“I’m feeling like my body is ready to make a big jump,” the left-hander said Sunday in Phillies camp. “I feel right where I usually am about Feb. 1 going into spring training. That’s about the time I’m usually ready for my first ‘pen. I’m happy where I am.”
Hamels has already been ruled out for Opening Day, but it sounds like he’s on track to join Philadelphia’s starting rotation by the second week of April. The 30-year-old southpaw registered a 3.60 ERA, 1.159 WHIP, and 202/50 K/BB ratio in 220 innings (33 starts) last season. He has a 3.38 career ERA.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch told the media, including MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart, that starter Dallas Keuchel will come off of the disabled list and rejoin the rotation on Friday against the Tigers. Keuchel has missed nearly two months with a neck injury.
Prior to landing on the DL, Keuchel was 9-0 with a 1.67 ERA and a 69/18 K/BB ratio over 75 2/3 innings. He seemed to be on his way to potentially win another Cy Young Award.
Hinch also noted that Collin McHugh will start on Saturday and Lance McCullers will start on Sunday.
Braves starter Aaron Blair had a nightmarish bottom of the third inning on Wednesday afternoon against the Diamondbacks. He had just given up a run on a Daniel Descalso triple hit to center field that center fielder Ender Inciarte read poorly. In the following at-bat, Ketel Marte laced a curve ball to right field. Sean Rodriguez wasn’t able to get to it in time, so the ball bounced off the fence and caromed back towards the stands along the right field line. By the time Rodriguez was able to retrieve the ball, Marte was already on his way home and scored standing up.
The inside-the-park homer will certainly provide a boost to Marte’s stats. He entered Wednesday’s action batting .196/.255/.370 in 51 plate appearances.