Hamels Out Up To Three Months Following Altercation

Going into 2004, Cole Hamels was the Phillies’™ top prospect and one of the top lefthanders in the minor leagues.

But after missing most of 2004 with biceps tendintis, Hamels will
have his 2005 comeback delayed. He broke the fifth metacarpal’"the long
bone in the palm of the hand that leads to the pinkie finger’"in his
left (throwing) hand during an altercation over the weekend in
Clearwater, Fla.

The injury will preclude Hamels from pitching competitively for up
to three months following surgery, scheduled for Thursday. He was
examined Monday in Philadelphia by hand specialist Dr. Randall Culp,
who will insert a pin during the surgery. The pin will be removed about
three weeks later, and three weeks after that (in about mid-March),
Hamels will be able to start light throwing.

“We are certainly disappointed that this has occurred,” Phillies
general manager Ed Wade said in a statement. “Cole is a top prospect
who has a chance to move quickly through our system, but he put himself
in a position that slows his development, and that is unfortunate.”

Farm director Steve Noworyta said the Phillies are still
investigating the altercation before determining if the organization
would suspend Hamels for his role in it.

“I’ve got to find out everything before we do anything,” he said.
“It depends on what the situation (was) and whatever; we do have rules
(about altercations) and all but we have to figure out what happened.”

Hamels, who had been invited to major league camp two weeks ago,
will now report instead when minor league camp opens in early March.
The injury also probably will mean Hamels will end up back at high
Class A Clearwater, where he went 1-0, 1.13 in four starts last summer.
He struck out 24 in just 16 innings.

Because of his well-above-average changeup, a fastball that touches
94, a developing curveball and advanced feel for pitching, Hamels was
poised to jump to Double-A Reading had he stayed healthy.

Instead, he has put himself behind schedule for the second time.