Cole Hamels wasn’t too pleased at being pulled after 86 pitches

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Cole Hamels made his 2014 debut last night in Los Angeles and he pitched well, allowing two runs over six innings and tossing 86 pitches. Then Ryne Sandberg pulled him from the game. The problem: the Phillies’ bullpen sucks and last night they sucked again, allowing three runs.

Another problem: after the game Hamels waxed something less-than-enthusiastic about Sandberg’s decision to yank him. Here’s Jim Salisbury from CSNPhilly.com:

Hamels appeared mystified and possibly a little miffed at the early hook. He admitted to being surprised that he didn’t go out for the seventh inning.

“I had plenty left in the tank,” Hamels said. “But I don’t make the decisions. I just have to go out there and pitch and try to be competitive and keep the team in the ballgame.

“They make the decision. They have a scheme, a plan of what they want to do and all I can do is go out there one pitch at a time and see how far I can go, how far they’ll let me.”

Hamels was not aware of any restrictions on his workload.

Hamels added that he had pitched 100-105 pitches in rehab starts, so why 86 now? Especially given a tight game and that bullpen. And Sandberg’s comments don’t seem all that compelling. He said Hamels “did his job” and that it was “his first time out” despite earlier saying that Hamels is under no restrictions.

Anyone else get this? Because I sure don’t.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.