Hamels heads back to Philly for an elbow exam.

By notebookguy

UPDATE (Tues 1:21 PM) by nichols33: Hamels’ elbow checked out ok. Word is that it is inflamation of the elbow, no structural damage. Hamels will take anti-inflammatory medicine. No time table on return, but Phillies are calling this “good news.” ESPN’s recap on the news.

Original Post: Bad news if you’ve got Cole Hamels in your keeper league or were eying him as your ace in your upcoming draft, he’s flying back to Philadelphia to have his elbow examined by the Phillies team physician.

Fantasy Baseball Advice:  I noted in a previous post that I was concerned about Hamels suffering due to his exponentially larger workload last season, it looks as if this may be coming to fruition.  The team is saying they don’t think it’s serious, no pain, just a little tightness in between innings, but with elbows, little problems balloon quickly.  I’ve already got Hamels as my 7 overall starting pitcher, I will start to consider starters such as Beckett, Peavy, and Oswalt over Hamels if he is forced to sit out some time or something more serious develops.  Keep an eye on this situation if you are considering Hamels with your 3rd or 4th round pick in the draft.  No timetable has been set for his return.

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13 Comments

Filed under Injuries

13 responses to “Hamels heads back to Philly for an elbow exam.

  1. tallkid1

    Yikes, I had Hamels at #7 as well in the group of CC, Lincecum, Santana, Webb, Halladay and Haren as the elite guys without major injury concerns but now, with an elbow issue (no matter how minor), he drops into the Peavy and Beckett territory – some additional risk with the potential of a great payoff.

  2. nichols33

    This could be a huge blow to the Phils and to any team that may have drafted or kept Hamels. I happen to fall into the later category in a 14 team 5×5. I have my fingers crossed, not only for that fantasy team but I don’t want Phils fans to have an excuse when the Mets beat them for the division this year.

  3. Somebody with a medical degree is going to have to explain to me how Hamels’ “exponentially larger workload” translates into a sore elbow 4 months after the end of his season. I’m not buying it.

    I also think you may be making too much of this before any (God forbid) facts are in. Right now, I’m chalking it up to “Cole being Cole” and taking the precaution to have it looked at before he goes any further.

    The real concern is with him getting some starts under his belt before the opener.

    • nichols33

      You don’t need a medical degree to see what’s happened over time to young pitchers who see a significant increase in innings year over year…..they eventually breakdown.
      Sporting News Fantasy Baseball 09 Publication showed a telling study where they listed 7 pitchers who had never thrown over 200 innings in a season and who’s innings increased over 30 innings in 07 over 06. Here they are:
      Ian Kennedy – 61 inning increase – 08 Result: “Battled lat strain; saw ERA/WHIP increase dramatically”
      Fausto Carmona – 56.3 inning increase – 08 Result: “On DL with hip injury; ERA/WHIP rose sharply”
      Ubaldo Jimenez – 41.6 inning increase – 08 Result: “Went 4-9, 4.22/1.54 before the All-star break”
      Tom Gorzelanny – 40.3 inning increase – 08 Result: “Spent time on the DL and in AAA, finished with 6.66 ERA”
      Dustin McGowan – 38.6 inning increase – 08 Result: “Struggled to a 6-7 record before having should surgery”
      Chad Gaudin – 36 inning increase – 08 Result: “Limited to 90 innings in 08 in mostly relief role”
      Yovani Gallardo – 33 inning increase – 08 Result: “Missed most of 08 thanks to two knee surgeries”

      Maybe it’s nothing, but even if it is….there is a good bet Cole will be seeing the DL this year regardless.

  4. tallkid1

    I think it’s pretty straightforward. The man throws a ball for a living. Last year he threw the ball more than anytime in his career and now the elbow on the arm that he throws the ball with hurts. I doubt it’s because he was carrying too many groceries since it seems to happen a lot with baseball players. I’m dropping Hamels down quite a bit, not as far as Ervin Santana, but I never like to hear the word “tight elbow.”

  5. No offense Nichols, but that gang of pitchers doesn’t make me think “MVP.”

    Cole has seen the DL a couple of other times and it had nothing to do with pitching great numbers of innings.
    Your list reveals a lot of surgeries. So far, Cole has had an injection for inflammation. How does that compare?

    • notebookguy

      Those are just the guys who jumped up to high in innings last year. The list goes on and on if you want to go back through the years, Kerry Wood and Mark Prior were the poster children when people started looking into it. Overworked young pitchers who take a major jump in innings pitched have trouble the next year, sometimes more. No Hamels hasn’t had surgery, yet, but his elbow trouble is not a coincidence.
      It’s great to talk about the good old days and guys throwing 400 innings, that was great, when men were men, and whatnot… It’s over though. That’s not how the game is played anymore, it’s time to accept that and move on. Teams are becoming smarter about handling pitchers, they are managed to try and help minimize risks to injuries, something the Red Sox have been front and center on, and it seems to work. It’s time to start paying more attention to that.

  6. mrcane

    The extra innings isnt so much for the ligaments its the muscles. What happens when the muscles fatigue over the course of a long season, it stresses the joint more. Veteran pitchers have better conditioned their arms for this type of abuse. Your right, it could be nothing, but look at what happened to Lackey last year, minor arm injury turns into a couple months. Kazmir has gone through it as well. His body isn’t responding to rest means he is in for a long year.

  7. Two minutes for rebuttal from the “old timer” in the group:

    JUAN MARICHAL
    1962 Age 24 262 IP
    1963 Age 25 321 IP Record: 25-8
    Hall of Fame career.

    JIM PALMER
    1969 Age 23 181 IP
    1970 Age 24 305 IP Record: 20-10
    1971 Age 25 Record: 20-9

    TOM SEAVER
    Pitched consistently in the 275 to 290 inning range from age 22 to 32. Check his W-L records.

    GREG MADDUX
    1987 Age 21 155 IP Record: 6-14
    1988 Age 22 249 IP Record: 18-8
    1989 Age 23 238 IP Record 19-12

    Am I missing something or are these guys all Hall 0f Famers and the lists that you ran are … um … not. I fail to see the correlation between youth and arm strength.

    • notebookguy

      Of course it’s not definite. Of course there are tons of exceptions to the rule. It is just something to watch out for because when the innings spike like that there is a higher percentage of elbow injuries.
      Your comparisons have no bearing on Cole Hamels by the way. You talked about 4 of the greatest pitchers in the HISTORY of baseball, Cole Hamels is far, far, far, far, far away from that. I know in Phily fans minds he’s one of the greatest to ever pitch, but let’s keep in mind that we’re talking about a guy with one very good season under his belt. Let’s not compare the Hall of Famers to the young lefty.

      • And the pitchers in the example are the opposite of the best pitchers ever. So how can a valid case be built for actually … pitching?

        Even though 30-something of Hamels’ innings were in the playoffs. Were they supposed to sit him because he exceeded some made-up innings limit?
        There are two more rounds of playoffs now than there were when Marichal and Palmer pitched. It stands to reason that guys are going to pitch more if their teams WIN.

  8. dtb23

    I heard the same nonsense going into last year… Hamels threw 183 innings in 2007 (51 more innings than he threw in 2006) and everyone predicted that he would have a “setback” in 2008.

    To the contrary Hamels posted career highs in strikeouts, ERA, innings pitched, WHIP, plus he didn’t miss anytime, was the MVP of the NLCS and the WS MVP.

    You can all talk about the “trends” around young players but Hamels has already shown that he can overcome an increase in his workload.

    Cole is still a top ten pitcher in my eyes.

    • nichols33

      He’s still top 10 in my book. I’m not disputing that. What I’m saying, and I think notebookguy and tallkid1 are saying is there is history that shows Cole is an injury risk. He may pitch 35 games with no problems and win the Cy Young, but there is a very good chance that he visits the DL this year or his numbers are down accross the board due to his increase in innings last year. Obviously, some pitchers buck this trend and just throw lights out, injury-free baseball year after year early in their career. For the Phils sake, they better hope Cole can be one of those guys.

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