Ruben Amaro, Jr. reiterates that he expects Cole Hamels to begin the year with the Phillies


Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. said late last month that he was expecting left-hander Cole Hamels to still be with the team when the season begins. In the wake of James Shields’ deal with the Padres, ESPN’s Jayson Stark asked Amaro about Hamels’ status again today. His answer hasn’t changed:

“I would expect him to be in spring training with the Phillies. And I would expect him to be our Opening Day starter. I don’t know that for sure. That could change in a phone call or two, just like with anyone else. But I would expect him to be in camp.”

The Padres were linked heavily to Hamels in recent weeks, but barring something unexpected, that possibility is now likely off the board now that Shields is in the fold. Amaro said that he is still talking with several teams about Hamels, but that they “haven’t gotten to the finish line with those teams.” The substantial asking price is a big reason for that.

Stark hears that Amaro is telling teams that he needs to “win the deal” in order to trade Hamels and the Phillies are willing to pay little or none of the $96 million remaining on his contract. So not only do you have to give up a ton of talent, but you have to pay a lot of money too. Still, you can understand why the Phillies are holding firm on their asking price, as Hamels is one of the best left-handers in the game and the biggest chip in their rebuilding effort.

Amaro conceded that things could change with Hamels if a team has an injury or reevaluates their situation, but it sounds like he’s prepared to turn his focus to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

Yankees place Aaron Judge (strained calf) on IL

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NEW YORK — Yankees star Aaron Judge was placed on the injured list with a right calf strain before Friday night’s game against Boston and manager Aaron Boone is optimistic the outfielder will not miss significant time.

The move was retroactive to Wednesday and Boone described the strain as mild after an MRI revealed the injury. To replace Judge on the roster, Thairo Estrada was recalled from the Yankees’ alternate site in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Judge began Friday leading the majors with nine homers and tied with Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon for the major league lead with 20 RBIs.

“It’s something that I think he really wants to try and work through here and kind of wants to be out here and feels like it’s a day-to-day thing which it may very well be, but I just think obviously it goes without saying how important a player Aaron is to us,” Boone said.

Boone had said last weekend’s series on the artificial turf in Tampa Bay took its toll on the 6-foot-7 outfielder.

Judge joined Giancarlo Stanton as the second Yankees slugger to land on the injured list this. Stanton was placed on the IL with a strained hamstring after getting hurt in the second game of last Saturday’s doubleheader.

“We’ve lost two MVP-caliber players,” Boone said. “Obviously that is a blow, especially two guys that playing well as they are right now.”

Judge was pulled for a pinch hitter during Tuesday night’s win over Atlanta and didn’t play Wednesday. The Yankees were off Thursday.

The 28-year-old All-Star missed time during July’s training camp because of a stiff neck.

The 2017 AL Rookie of the Year hit 27 homers in each of the last two seasons, both of them interrupted by injuries. His right wrist was broken when he was hit by a pitch in 2018 and he went on the injured list for two months last year with a left oblique strain.

Judge was diagnosed with a broken rib in March and would not have been ready for the season opener if the season began as scheduled on March 26.