Cole Hamels pitches in minor league game, feels “great”

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Cole Hamels fell behind this spring due to shoulder fatigue and will begin the season on the disabled list, but he’s moving in the right direction.

According to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, Hamels pitched two innings in a minor league game this afternoon. It was his first game action of the spring. The southpaw threw 20 out of 30 pitches for strikes and reported feeling “great.”

“I’m really pleased,” he said. “I feel like I can truly get spring training in now. I feel healthy now and I have the strength to go out and get my reps in and build my pitch count up.”

Hamels has essentially just begun his spring training, so he’ll need a few more starts to get properly stretched out. Barring any setbacks, he’s likely on track to join the Phillies’ rotation by the end of April.

Astros extend winning streak to 11 games

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The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.

The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.

Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.

After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.