Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels took an important step this morning in his return from shoulder tendinitis, as Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that he threw two innings of live batting practice to hitters. It was his first time facing live hitters this spring.
Hamels, who was behind schedule at the start of camp and had a setback earlier this month, declared that he felt “great” during today’s session. The Phillies will likely see how he feels tomorrow before deciding when he’ll throw next, but it’s good news for a team that really needs it right now.
Hamels will begin the year on the disabled list, but he has a chance to join Philadelphia’s starting rotation by the end of April if all goes well.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Rangers have signed outfielder Carlos Gomez to a one-year deal. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Gomez will earn $11.5 million next season.
Gomez, 31, struggled with the Astros to a .594 OPS before the club released him in mid-August. The Rangers signed him shortly thereafter and were immediately rewarded. Gomez hit .284/.362/.543 with eight home runs and 24 RBI in 130 plate appearances through the end of the regular season.
As presently constructed, Gomez would likely take over in center field with Nomar Mazara handling left and Shin-Soo Choo in right.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Diamondbacks are close to signing free agent reliever Fernando Rodney.
Rodney, 39, has been inconsistent over the past two seasons. This past season, he was lights-out with the Padres, posting a 0.31 ERA in 28 appearances. After the Marlins acquired him at the end of June, he struggled to a 5.89 ERA in 39 appearances.
Brad Ziegler, who closed for the Diamondbacks in the first half last season, went to the Red Sox in a midseason trade and is now a free agent. The Diamondbacks had six other relievers register a save, but only Daniel Hudson and Jake Barrett recorded more than one. Adding Rodney will give the club some stability in the ninth inning.