If you're still having trouble picturing Cole Hamels in a Braves uniform, you'll have a little more time to process it.
The Braves are saying that Hamels, who signed 10 weeks ago, will not be ready for opening day (March 26). Hamels has a sore shoulder. He irritated it doing weighted-ball exercises and will be reevaluated in three weeks, per The Athletic.
Cole Hamels irritated pitching shoulder doing weighted-ball exercises, #Braves’ Snitker said. Hamels is in Dallas, will be re-evaluated in 3 weeks. Hope is that it’s nothing serious and he’ll have time to get ready.— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) February 12, 2020
Reevaluated in three weeks means that Hamels won't pick up a ball for at least that length of time. Once he does, he'll need to build up arm strength and stamina before being ready to start in a regular-season game. So we could be looking at a return in late-April or beyond for the 36-year-old lefty and former Phillies great.
The Braves signed Hamels to a one-year, $18 million deal. They signed outfielder Marcell Ozuna for the same price. They also added high-leverage lefty reliever Will Smith on a three-year, $40 million contract and brought back right-hander Chris Martin, rightfielder Nick Markakis and catcher Tyler Flowers. They were among the most active teams in free agency early and capped off their offseason with the signing of Ozuna to an extremely appealing one-year deal.
After winning 97 games last season and despite losing Josh Donaldson, Atlanta will again be a major threat to the Phillies. Ronald Acuña Jr. and Freddie Freeman might be the best position player duo in the majors. (Others would include Mike Trout-Anthony Rendon, Nolan Arenado-Trevor Story, Mookie Betts-Cody Bellinger.)
The Phillies went 10-9 against the Braves last season. It was a strange year within the division for them. The Phils were 12-7 against the Mets, 5-14 against the Nationals and an unforgettable 9-10 against the 57-win Marlins.