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Phillies promote phenom Hamels to Majors05/10/2006 12:00 PM ET
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- The International League may throw as big a party as the Phillies faithful, who have been waiting for this day. Cole Hamels is leaving the baffled hitters of Triple-A for his rightful place on Philadelphia's big-league roster. After three dominant starts blowing away the competition, the Phillies couldn't wait any longer. The prized left-hander, selected in the first round of the June 2002 First-Year Player Draft, will start on Friday in Cincinnati. Starter Ryan Madson will head to the bullpen. "You always need pitching," said manager Charlie Manuel, after Hamels' third outing. "When someone is pitching that good, it's just a matter of time until he ends up in the big leagues. ... I'm all for anything that can help our club." Help comes in the form of a 0.39 ERA and just 10 hits in 23 innings, with 36 strikeouts against one walk. The left-hander gassed up his rocket ship himself for his meteoric rise to the Majors right as Spring Training ended. He baffled Class A hitters through mid-April, then continued this trend with the Red Barons. He struck out 14 in his Triple-A debut. "Everything was working really well," he said, after that start. "In different situations, whenever I needed to make a pitch, I was able to do that. Everything was on. I had a good inside fastball that was moving. I was varying speeds, and that's always a big thing." The Phillies have long believed that Hamels will be a stud in their rotation for many years, but injuries have hindered his development. Brilliant when on the mound, the southpaw has pitched just 152 professional innings since 2003, with only 35 coming with Clearwater and Reading last season. Health was the main factor in the team's decision to start Hamels in the warmer weather at Class A Clearwater, Fla., rather than colder Pennsylvania. Hamels toyed with the Florida State League, compiling a 1.77 ERA in four starts, and striking out 29 batters in 20 1/3 innings. "If his ability is what we think it is, the opportunity will be here, sooner rather than later," Mike Arbuckle, the team's assistant general manager, scouting and player development, recently said. "Realistically, you can't put a timetable because he's missed nearly two years of productive development time. He's got to perform at Triple-A over a stretch of time, and his actions over that stretch will show us when he has to be in Philadelphia." Hamels has now shown that.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.