The injury has caused him to fall a month behind in his throwing schedule as spring training begins around baseball. He is expected to take part in a bullpen session within the next two weeks with the team likely re-evaluating where to go with him after that.
Hamels says neither he nor the team's medical staff are overly concerned about the injury. Losing a month of time certainly isn't the best-case scenario for Hamels and a Phillies team who will need a lot to go right to compete in 2014. It doesn't sound like Hamels expects to lose much time past opening day, though there may be a possibility that he begins the season on the disabled list.
Hamels has been one of baseball's best pitchers in recent seasons. The 30-year-old did suffer a bit of a down year in 2013, however, with a 3.60 ERA over 33 starts. His strikeout, walk and home run numbers all remained much the same as other years, indicating a probability he will return to ace-like numbers in 2014.
The Phillies have been showing an interest in free agent starting pitcher A.J. Burnett in recent weeks as a way to bolster the rotation. It's possible the team also sees him as insurance in case Hamels misses more time than is currently expected. Burnett would reportedly like to stay in the National League and close to his Maryland home, potentially making Philadelphia an ideal landing spot. The Phillies do not have much starting pitching depth with Hamels, Cliff Lee and Kyle Kendrick the only sure things in the rotation.