Cole Hamels has made at least 30 starts every season since 2008, but that streak may be in jeopardy this year.
After dealing with some shoulder tendinitis early in camp, Hamels reported Thursday that his arm is "fatigued out." It was a bit of a surprise, as Hamels had been progressing and had even thrown what was considered to be a promising bullpen session last Saturday.
The Phillies made it clear that it's not a shoulder issue -- Hamels hasn't sustained any structural damage to the shoulder -- but it still counts as a setback for the southpaw.
"I know nothing has gone wrong," Hamels said about his shoulder. "Trying to get in the best possible shape that I can [get] in in sort of a rushed, competitive atmosphere, something's going to not want to push it a little more so it prevents the injury. Ultimately my body is telling me, 'Hey, slow it down a little bit and start over in a certain way so that you can prevent injury, but build up for the long haul.'"
In response, Hamels will be shut down for the near future. The 30-year-old said he hopes to throw off a mound again sometime next week, but it's too early to say whether that's in the cards.
While the silver lining is that his shoulder is still structurally sound, the setback hurts Hamels' chances of pitching before May. He was already behind due to the tendinitis, and now he'll have to work to get back to where he was before the fatigue. It's bad news for the Phillies, too, as the team wasn't staring at an abundance of starting options before Hamels' injury.
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Matt Carpenter had a terrific 2013 season. It appears the Cardinals would like to ensure any more strong seasons he enjoys in the near future are with them as well.
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported early Thursday that Carpenter and the Cardinals were discussing a long-term extension that would keep the 28-year-old in red for many seasons to come. FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal later reported the framework of the potential deal was in the six-year, $50-to-55 million range.
It would be a good deal for both sides, should it happen. Carpenter would be cashing in much earlier than he would otherwise -- the third baseman is just now entering his final pre-arbitration year, so the deal would buy out all three of his arbitration years. And the Cardinals would lock in a leadoff hitter who batted .318/.392/.481 with 126 runs scored last season.
Santana In The News
Ervin Santana is still without a team, and he now may be without his agent as well.
Rosenthal reported Thursday evening that Santana, possibly unhappy with his current situation, is considering dropping his agent, Proformance's Bean Stringfellow, in favor of someone else. Rosenthal didn't say who Santana's new agent might be, but it's a good bet he'll advise his new agent to find him a team soon.
On that front, it was also reported Thursday that a handful of teams are in the hunt for the right-hander. Among the teams listed by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports were the Orioles, Mariners, Rockies, Rangers and Blue Jays, although Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos later told MLB.com that his interest is largely informal.
Santana is said to still be seeking a deal in the ballpark of $50 million, a number that may dip as his stay on the free agent market wears on. The 31-year-old is also rumored to be open to the idea of waiting until after June's MLB Draft to sign in hopes that teams might be more willing to give him the kind of contract he's looking for if he's not tied to draft pick compensation.
Parnell Happy With Outing
A herniated disc in his neck ended Bobby Parnell's season last September and a minor quad injury sidelined him earlier this spring, but the right-hander said he felt good Thursday.
Parnell threw in a "B" game Thursday afternoon and reported no issues with his neck or quad after the outing.
"Everything felt good," Parnell said afterward. "Coming into it my routine was good and my arm was strong. I felt like I came out there throwing strikes, so I’m happy with it."
Parnell is flying under the radar due to the injuries, but the 29-year-old has a 2.16 ERA and 44/12 K/BB ratio over 50 innings last season. The Mets flirted with some free agent closers during the offseason but ultimately stayed away -- and lost Parnell's chief competition for the job, LaTroy Hawkins, to the Rockies -- meaning Parnell should hold onto the closer job all season if healthy. With an improved Mets team and a full slate of save opportunities, it's not hard to see Parnell reaching 30 saves and looking like a relative bargain on draft day.