Cole Hamels expected to be placed on injured list with strained oblique

Cole Hamels
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Cubs starter Cole Hamels departed Friday’s outing against the Reds with an undisclosed injury in his left side, per a team announcement. Hamels underwent an evaluation after his removal from the game, so a formal diagnosis and timetable for his return to the mound is likely forthcoming later this weekend.

Any way you slice it, it’s an unfortunate development for the 35-year-old left-hander. Entering Friday’s start, Hamels carried a 6-2 record in 16 starts with a 2.92 ERA, 3.1 BB/9, 8.8 SO/9 and 2.3 fWAR through 98 2/3 innings, in many ways showing a marked improvement over his 2018 totals.

According to reports from MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, manager Joe Maddon expressed some hope that Hamels would make the cut for the National League All-Stars roster — hope that might be somewhat dimmed in light of the southpaw’s alarming exit from the weekend series opener. He lasted just one inning against the Reds, allowing singles to Joey Votto and Yasiel Puig and walking Eugenio Suárez on seven pitches. He threw 22 total pitches and was in the process of warming up for the second inning when he felt discomfort in his left side.

This wouldn’t be the first time Hamels sustained an oblique injury — he missed a full two months with a right oblique strain during the first half of his 2017 campaign with the Rangers — but it appears to be the first time he’s experienced this particular issue in his left side. Exactly how long he’ll be sidelined this time has yet to be determined.

In Hamels’ absence, Mike Montgomery stepped to the mound in the second inning and immediately gave up a leadoff home run to Cincinnati’s Phillip Ervin. The Cubs currently trail the Reds 6-3 in the eighth.

Update, 10:43 PM EDT: Maddon confirmed Hamels’ left oblique injury following the team’s 6-3 loss. While the severity of the injury has not been determined, he’s expected to be placed on the injured list in the days to come.