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Phillies say ailing ace Cole Hamels won't start opening day

CLEARWATER — Ace LHP Cole Hamels has been ruled out of an opening-night start Sunday against the Braves and will pitch in Saturday's exhibition game against the Rays in Philadelphia, pitching coach Rich Dubee told ESPN on Monday afternoon.

Hamels, who got an anti-inflammatory injection in his elbow two weeks ago, threw 65 pitches in a minor-league game Monday and allowed 10 hits and three runs in four innings.

"He was fine," Dubee told Jayson Stark. "I'm not looking at (how many) base hits he gave up or anything. His command is not there. That's for sure."

Jays: Ryan struggling

DUNEDIN — Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston expressed concern about closer B.J. Ryan after he pitched a shaky eighth inning in a 3-1 loss to the Yankees on Monday. The left-hander gave up a run and two hits and has a 9.00 ERA this spring.

Gaston said he might consider making Scott Downs the closer and putting Ryan "somewhere else for a while and go from there." But Ryan said he's moving in the right direction.

"The runs are just (from) pitching behind," he said. "Pitch behind in counts and you get in predictable counts. Aside from that there were some good things that came out of today."

Yanks: Go deeper

TAMPA — RHP Joba Chamberlain needs to show Yankees manager Joe Girardi two things in his next-to-last spring start for it to be considered a success.

"Efficiency and location," Girardi said. "I'd like to get six innings if we could."

Chamberlain is 3-0 with a 3.68 ERA in five major-league spring starts. But he has pitched just 142/3 innings during the stretch, with a long of 41/3.

"The overall performance is what I really want to look at," Girardi said.

The teams

Blue Jays

at Phillies

7:05 tonight, 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: George M. Steinbrenner Field, 1 Steinbrenner Drive, Tampa. Tickets: Call (813) 879-2244 or online at yankees.com.

Phillies say ailing ace Cole Hamels won't start opening day 03/30/09 [Last modified: Monday, March 30, 2009 9:01pm]
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