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Cole Hamels suffers setback, probably won't pitch in April

Cole Hamels is owed $22.5 million per season through 2018. (Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images) Cole Hamels is owed $22.5 million per season through 2018. (Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images)

Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels, currently rehabbing biceps tendonitis, said his arm is "fatigued out" and that he's been directed by his trainers to scale back his throwing program, according to a tweet Thursday morning from Phillies beat writer Chris Branch of The News Journal. The setback puts his prospects of pitching in April in doubt.

The 30-year-old three-time All-Star threw approximately 35 pitches last weekend but described it as feeling "like a thousand [pitches]." He had hoped to join the Grapefruit League rotation this month, but admitted that he "pushed it a little too hard too quickly," according to a report from CBS Philly.

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"I think I pushed it a little too hard too quickly. And I wasn’t able to recover the way I obviously use to or would be accustomed to. I didn’t feel like it was safe to push it in that direction because I think that would have led to injuries. So I’m just really trying to allow my body to catch up."

The problem, it appears, does not so much concern his tendonitis as much as the pace of his rehab. Hamels, who has spent his entire career with the Phillies after making his MLB debut in 2006, has been dealing with lingering effects from minor shoulder and elbow surgeries throughout his career; in 2007, he was sidelined for more than a month with a mild elbow sprain. In December, it was reported that Philadelphia was willing to shop him in an effort to become younger.

Hamels, who is owed $22.5 million per season through 2018, went 8-14 last season, recording a 3.60 ERA. He has thrown at least 200 innings for four straight seasons and at least 180 innings for seven consecutive seasons.

With Hamels likely out for the foreseeable future, the Phillies will use a rotation of Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett, Kyle Kendrick and Roberto Hernandez, with John Pettibone, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez and David Buchanan each looking to join the team in that final spot.

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