Cole Hamels still may have to begin the season on the disabled list because offseason shoulder tendinitis put him behind schedule in Phillies camp, but this morning the left-hander felt good enough to throw his first bullpen session of spring training.
Here’s how Hamels described the mound session to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com:
It was good. Better than expected, which is huge. It didn’t feel as foreign, getting off the mound after such a long time. But everything felt good. Physically, I’ve been feeling great. It just carried over. Now it’s just getting the reps in, working on location, working on pitches. But I still have a really good feel for what I’m doing out there.
Hamels could still have enough time to build up his arm strength for the regular season, but first he’ll have to get through another bullpen session Saturday and then get into some game action. As of now he certainly sounds optimistic and is downplaying the seriousness of the injury.
Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.
The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.
Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:
Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.
Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.
Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.