Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Hamels feels timing is off

KISSIMMEE — LHP Cole Hamels is concerned about his delivery, though it didn't seem like much of a problem Sunday in a 7-1 victory over the Astros.

The Phillies starter gave up a leadoff double to Tyler Greene in the first inning then retired 14 straight hitters. Brandon Laird was the only other batter to reach against Hamels, drawing a two-out walk in the fifth.

Hamels struck out one in his fourth spring start.

"At least I was able to build up my pitch count, which was huge," he said, "but I've got to get the timing issue down so I can go seven, eight, nine innings and throw as many pitches as I have to."

Five days after giving up eight runs and 12 hits to a Dominican Republic team tuning up for the World Baseball Classic, Hamels looked more like the pitcher who has posted ERAs between 2.79 and 3.39 in five of his seven seasons.

"You just keep making adjustments and I was finally able to get a few good pitches there, but it's not as consistent as where I need it to be," he said. "It's just a timing issue. More reps obviously will help."

PLUNKED: Phillies LF Darin Ruf left in the sixth after being hit on his left arm by a pitch from Astros RHP Jarred Cosart. The injury wasn't considered serious.

Jays: 'Good' not enough

DUNEDIN — Another solid performance might not mean much for Blue Jays LHP J.A. Happ.

Happ allowed four hits in 31/3 scoreless innings in the loss to the Yankees and has a 1.93 ERA this spring. He still appears to be the odd man out to win a spot in Toronto's revamped rotation that includes offseason acquisitions R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson.

"It's very frustrating," Happ said. "I told myself a couple things before coming into camp that I would try to stay as positive as I could, and just kind of let things play out. I'm trying to do that."

Happ's role to begin the season could be as a major-league reliever or a starter at Triple A.

"I'm a major-league starting pitcher," Happ said. "We'll have to let it play out."

Toronto manager John Gibbons understands Happ's frustration.

"I definitely feel for him," Gibbons said. "He knows what he's facing. Before it's all said and done, he's going to help us in a lot of ways."

Yankees: Making his case

DUNEDIN — David Phelps is doing all he can to earn a role in the Yankees' starting rotation.

Phelps kept up his strong spring training, allowing three hits over five innings in a 3-0 win over the Blue Jays.

"Phelps' command has been very good," manager Joe Girardi said.

The right-hander, 26, has given up one run in 14 innings over four starts.

"Everything was working," said Phelps, who struck out three and walked one.

Phelps is competing with RHP Ivan Nova to be a starter and could win a rotation role if RHP Phil Hughes doesn't recover from a back injury by the first week of the season. Diagnosed three weeks ago with a bulging disc in his upper back, Hughes is set to throw 25-30 pitches off a bullpen mound today.

CC SET: LHP CC Sabathia, the Yankees' expected opening-day starter, threw 52 pitches during a simulated game at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa. Sabathia, who had offseason left elbow bone spur surgery, is scheduled to make first exhibition start Friday against Miami. "I had no pain, no problems," he said. "Felt like I was throwing a little harder than last time. I'm ready to go."

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