Braves might not have Cole Hamels to start season in July

Bill Shanks

The Braves are concerned left-handed starting pitcher Cole Hamels may not be ready to start the season, even if the start is in early July.

Hamels was shut down as spring training started after experiencing discomfort in his throwing shoulder from lifting weights over the winter. He got to spring training right before the Grapefruit League games were called off in mid-March.

The hope was, with the season delayed, Hamels would be ready to go once the new year started in midseason. But the Braves now fear Hamels may simply need more time.

The Braves believed Hamels would replace Dallas Keuchel as the veteran in the starting rotation. With Mike Soroka, Max Fried, Mike Foltynewicz and Sean Newcomb likely in the other rotation spots, the team needed a veteran with playoff experience.

Felix Hernandez had a solid spring training, and he might be counted on even more to give the Braves solid innings. Also, young Kyle Wright had an excellent spring. Wright could be ready to secure a spot in the rotation.

Now, the Braves must simply hope Hamels can get back at some point late in the year, which could still be August or September if the proposal is approved by the MLBPA. Hamels could be a valuable piece to a playoff roster, as well.

But Hamels first must prove he can get and then stay healthy. The Braves will be waiting patiently.

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