By Justin Adkins:
Charlie Manuel has set the Phillies spring rotation with an eye towards opening day.
Cole Hamels gets the nod for Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener this Saturday against the Yankees. Assuming the rotation schedule stays intact the rest of the spring, when the season opens on April 1 the ball will go to Roy Halladay. The Ginger Express would then be followed, in order, by Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels, and Joe Blanton.
Pitching coach Rich Dubee is already raving about Hamels’ performance and velocity this spring. Per csnphilly.com’s Jim Salisbury, Dubee thinks Hamels is already in mid-season form and could pitch and win a game right now. Dubee also says Hamels is throwing harder than he did at any point last season — you know, when he was just dominant. Hamels’ commitment to his offseason strength, conditioning, and throwing plan is really paying off.
Joe Blanton will follow Hamels on Sunday, again versus the Yankees. Roy Halladay’s first spring start will be that Monday, February 28 against the Toronto Blue Jays, the team that traded him to the Phils. Following that Cliff Lee will take the ball Tuesday against the Tigers in Clearwater, with Kyle Kendrick expected to get some work as well.
Roy Oswalt is expected to start Wednesday, March 2 versus Baltimore, but that hasn’t been officially announced.
Grapefruit games are great and all, but April 1 can’t come soon enough, and not because I intend to give my mother a heart attack by prank calling her with news my dad was arrested for doing 8 balls at lunch while wearing a Halladay shirsey.
PhillySportsCentral.com – Philadelphia sports news, rumors, blogs, & message board discussion forums