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How do you solve a problem like Cole Hamels?

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So at this point, everyone in the world knows that Cole Hamels has a sore left elbow.  This isn't surprising; Hamels was basically ravaged by the Verducci Effect's Rule of 30 last season.  And to good end - like we've been saying around here, Flags Fly Forever.  I'm sure even Hamels would agree there.

The issue now is, how do we move forward?  Do we really take Hamels at his word that it's not a big deal, and stay off the "bandwagon of freaking out" as he so mixedly-metaphorically put it this week?

Frankly, I think the Phillies need to make him sit as long as necessary to see if the soreness abates.  Pitching hurt only causes injuries to get worse as problems cascade throughout the body.  Based on his comments to the press, Cole Hamels is this weird combination of hyper-aware of his own health and physical limitations, yet competitive and dismissive of them when it comes to the game itself.  This alone probably exacerbates a lot of the worrywartism that has become a cottage industry among Phillies analysts -- how many pitchers either "pitch through it," and we never hear a thing, at least until the arm falls off, or just shut down completely at the first twinge?

Neither Chan Ho Park nor J.A. Happ are likely to be as bad this year as Adam Eaton and Kyle Kendrick were last year.  So the starting pitching is coming from a position of strength with regard to giving Hamels time to rest.

The Phillies obviously did the right thing by getting Hamels checked out earlier this week, confirming no structural irregularities in the elbow.  Hopefully, the presence of irritation again won't cause him to pitch hurt, favoring other parts of his body and leading to further injury.

As the Phillies made their postseason run, and the brilliant innings piled on Cole Hamels' arm, I knew there was a very good chance he'd miss a chunk of time in 2009.  I was fine with that then, and I'm fine with it now.  Remember the parade?


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