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Phillies ace Hamels has no structural damage in sore left elbow

CLEARWATER — Phillies LHP Cole Hamels will return to camp after a team physician found no damage in his sore left elbow.

General manager Ruben Amaro said Dr. Michael Ciccotti reported no structural damage after examining the ace Tuesday in Philadelphia.

Last season's World Series MVP received an injection to relieve inflammation and should be cleared to throw by Thursday.

"You want him to be up there and pitching," Amaro told MLB.com. "Obviously, that'll be the telltale sign that Cole is back and pitching. But overall, this is pretty good news."

Hamels' status for the April 5 opener against the Braves is unclear. The team will continue to monitor his recovery.

"Opening day is probably a long shot," pitching coach Rich Dubee said. "We're going to have to get him stretched out and off the top of my head he's up to 52 or so pitches. We like our guys ready to throw 100 pitches by opening day."

Hamels went 14-10 last season with a 3.09 ERA. He was 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five postseason starts.

MYERS SHARP: Dubee said he hopes Brett Myers will have a lot of outings this season like the one he had Tuesday.

"We need about 35 out of him," Dubee said.

Myers struck out seven in 52/3 shutout innings to lead Philadelphia to an 8-1 victory over the Reds. He allowed four hits and walked none.

Yanks: Case closed

TAMPA — Joba Chamberlain is a starting pitcher.

So say the only voices who matter: General manager Brian Cashman, manager Joe Girardi and pitching coach Dave Eiland, who all told the New York Daily News that the right-hander's future is in the starting rotation.

"I understand that (other) side of the argument," Eiland said. "There's no denying what he did out of the pen. Could we put him back there right now and have him do the same thing? Sure. But power guys don't come around that often with the four pitches that he has. When they do, they're in a rotation somewhere, usually in the top three spots."

Chamberlain, 23, made 20 straight relief appearances to open last season, then made 12 starts before a shoulder injury shelved him for much of August. He was sent to the pen when he returned. Overall, he had a 2.31 ERA in 30 relief outings covering 35 innings and a 2.76 ERA in 12 starts covering 651/3 innings.

MO RETURNS: Closer Mariano Rivera made his first spring appearance for the Yankees, pitching a perfect fifth and striking out two against the Pirates. The right-hander had shoulder surgery in October.

THE TEAMS

Blue Jays

at Phillies

1:05 today, Bright House

Field, Clearwater

Blue Jays: Dunedin Stadium, 373 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. Tickets: Call toll-free 1-888-525-5297 or (727) 733-0429 or online at bluejays.com.

Phillies: Bright House Field, 601 Old Coachman Road, Clearwater. Tickets: Call (727) 467-4457 or online at phillies.com.

Yankees: 1 Steinbrenner Drive, Tampa. Tickets: Call (813) 879-2244 or online at yankees.com.

Phillies ace Hamels has no structural damage in sore left elbow 03/17/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 17, 2009 10:16pm]

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