The city of Philadelphia is holding its collective breath as it waits to find out what's going on inside Cole Hamels' left elbow. The World Series MVP left Florida Monday evening and will meet with doctors in Philly to determine why he's feeling tightness in the wing that earned him a three-year, $20.5 million contract this offseason.
Hamels was careful to say that he's not feeling pain -- discomfort is the word being used -- but semantics won't make anyone feel better. Hamels is too important to the team's chances, and he's got too much history working against him to feel secure right now.
Hamels made just four starts in 2004 before elbow pain shut him down the rest of the way. He also missed a month of the 2007 season with an elbow strain. Hamels said there wasn't any comparison between that injury and what he's experiencing now, but, counting the playoffs, he threw 72 more innings in 2008 than in 2007.
That increase in innings added to his pitching motion led Kyle Boddy of Driveline Mechanics to predict that Hamels was due for a major injury at some point. It's too soon to tell if this is that point, of course, but Hamels' long and short-term histories are a good reason to keep your fingers crossed if you root for the Phils.
And, in one last note that should help Phillies fans regain their fatalistic side after last October's triumph, Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus compared him to Mark Prior in his preseason look at the Phillies' injury concerns. Enjoy your night's sleep with that one.
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