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Cole Hamels injury: Phillies could be without ace lefty through April

Fatigue in his pitching arm could keep the Phillies' best pitcher out of the rotation until May.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn't good news, but it could've been a lot worse.

Cole Hamels has announced he will rest his arm for a week due to fatigue, according to Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News. Lawrence and MLB.com's Todd Zolecki called it a "setback," and Zolecki reported that Hamels was noncommittal on whether or not he would pitch in games this April.

Hamels said he pushed himself "too hard, too fast."

The 30-year-old left hander is recovering from biceps tendonitis. He planned to return to game action early in the season, but rather than returning too soon and re-injuring his pitching arm, Hamels plans to rest and return at full strength.

"I believe I threw 35 pitches. To my body it felt like a thousand. 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 ... So I’m just really trying to allow my body to catch up. I’m trying to build the biggest base of strength that I possibly can to throw."

The Phillies are already dealing with injuries to John Pettibone and Ethan Martin, so the team's fifth starter could end up being decided this spring in a competition between Jeff Manship, David Buchanan, and Sean O'Sullivan. With Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett, and Kyle Kendrick, the team's first three spots appear to be locked in to open the season. Roberto Hernandez and Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez could be in the mix for starts as well, but Gonzalez has struggled in his first few starts as a Phillie. The 26-year-old Cuban right hander originally signed a 5-year, $60 million deal this offseason, but the deal nearly fell apart due to the team's concerns about his recovery from a previously sustained elbow injury. His contract was scaled back to a three-year, $12 million deal.

Prospect Jesse Biddle is in camp as a non-roster invitee, but Philadelphia might not feel as though he's ready to face big league hitters just yet, and they have to consider the fact that his arbitration clock would begin ticking away if they opened the year with him in their major league rotation.