One of the key offseason moves for the Atlanta Braves was to bring in starter Cole Hamels on a one-year, $18 million deal to solidify the rotation. It’ll be a bit before the solidifying process begins, however. The team announced today that he has experienced shoulder irritation this winter and will get a late start to spring training.
How late? The team says he’ll be reevaluated in three weeks. Even if he’s 100% ready to go then that’s a pretty big chunk of spring out the window for Hamels, which means he’d be unlikely to break camp with the team even under the best case scenario.
Hamels went 7-7 with a 3.81 ERA in 27 starts for the Cubs in 2019, striking out 143 and walking 56 in 141.2 innings. It was a tale of two seasons, though, really. Hamels posted a 2.98 ERA in 17 starts before he strained his oblique near the end of June, after which he also suffered from shoulder fatigue. When he came back he had a 5.79 ERA in 10 starts.
The hope on the part of the Braves, obviously, was that the shoulder fatigue was a short-term thing, at worst born of over-compensation for the oblique or something. Given that he had soreness in it this winter, however, there is likely some amount of concern down in Atlanta.