MLB notes: Phillies' Hamels set to return Wednesday

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels delivers a pitch in the first inning against the...

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves in their MLB National League baseball game in Atlanta, Georgia August 12, 2013. (REUTERS)

SUN WIRE SERVICES

, Last Updated: 8:36 PM ET

The Philadelphia Phillies will activate left-hander Cole Hamels Wednesday, when he will make his season debut.

For manager Ryne Sandberg, his projected rotation for this season will finally be healthy.

That rotation was bolstered with the late addition of free agent A.J. Burnett, whom the Phillies signed on Feb. 16. That was right at the outset of spring training, by which time Hamels was behind due to biceps tendinitis he developed last November.

"Looking at the rotation once we did sign Burnett in the spring and the possibilities, we'll see it next week," Sandberg said, "when Hamels is in there and we start to see him pitch and see the rotation in complete strength. I've been waiting for that day."

The addition of Hamels will give the Phillies three bona fide No. 1 starters as he joins Burnett and left-hander Cliff Lee.

In addition, fifth starter Roberto Hernandez had given the Phillies a chance to win in every outing before Sunday, when he was lifted after giving up two hits to start the fifth. Both those runners scored, giving the Rockies a 6-3 lead in a game the Phillies came back to win 10-9.

The Phillies' other starter is Kyle Kendrick, who has lost seven consecutive decisions, including two this year, but in four starts this season is 0-2 with a 3.60 ERA.

"So all in all, it's the makings of a solid rotation," Sandberg said. "So to finally have that possibility and to see that (with the return of Hamels) -- I'm anxious for that."

FARNSWORTH TO CLOSE

No baseball team has ever changed closers an average of one time per week. The New York Mets are doing their best to achieve that dubious feat.

Right-handed pitcher Kyle Farnsworth became the latest entrant in the Mets' closer derby Sunday morning, when manager Terry Collins announced he'd taken over the job from right-hander Jose Valverde.

The struggling Valverde -- who moved into the closer's role when incumbent Bobby Parnell suffered a season-ending elbow injury on Opening Day -- entered Sunday having allowed eight runs (five earned) in his previous three appearances.

Only one of those outings was in a save situation -- and the Mets ended up beating the Angels in 11 innings despite Valverde's blown save on April 11 -- but the three-run homer Valverde gave up to Justin Upton in the top of the ninth inning Saturday proved especially costly when the Mets scored twice in the bottom of the inning before leaving the bases loaded in a 7-5 loss.

Collins said that Valverde was too reliant on his fastball and that he wants him to utilize his secondary pitches in a set-up role.

"I know he's still got the stuff to get people out," Collins said. "I want him to start using his other pitches a little bit, His fastball is certainly not 97 anymore, but it's good enough. He's just got to mix up some pitches."

The Mets didn't generate a save opportunity Sunday in their 4-3, 14-inning win over the Braves, but Farnsworth threw a scoreless 10th inning to lower his ERA to 1.08 in nine appearances. Valverde, meanwhile, ended up earning the win with a scoreless 14th.

HUNDLEY SWITCHING SPOTS?

Nick Hundley's days as a Padres catcher appear to be numbered.

Hundley, 30, has been the Padres' primary catcher in four of the last five seasons and is in the third year of a $9 million contract.

But with Yasmani Grandal getting closer to catching back-to-back games following ACL surgery last August and Rene Rivera becoming the favourite target for staff leaders Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross, Hundley is seeing less time behind the plate.

Sunday was only Hundley's fourth start in 19 games and the Padres are said to be shopping him to other teams.

But Hundley went 2-for-4 with a home run in the 4-3 loss to the Giants to raise his season average to .316. That is the second-highest average on a team that is hitting .233 as a unit.

Might the Padres be better served to have Hundley in the lineup at a position other than catcher?

"He might be able to play left," said Padres manager Bud Black.

With Carlos Quentin sidelined since the start of the season with a bone bruise in his left knee, that might be something to consider.

INDIANS ACTIVATE GIAMBI

The Cleveland Indians activated designated hitter Jason Giambi from the 15-day disabled list Monday and optioned right-handed pitcher Blake Wood to triple-A Columbus.

Giambi was on the DL since March 30 with a right rib fracture, which he sustained March 7 against the Chicago Cubs in a spring training game. The 43-year-old is fourth among active major-leaguers in home runs (438) and RBIs (1436).

Giambi spent three games on a rehab assignment with double-A Akron last week.

Wood is 0-1 with a 7.11 ERA in seven relief outings this season. In 6 1/3 innings, he allowed four hits, five runs (all earned), seven walks and struck out seven.

YANKEES OPTION PITCHERS

The New York Yankees optioned right-handed pitchers Matt Daley and Bryan Mitchell to the minor leagues Monday.

Daley was sent to triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Mitchell to double-A Trenton.

Daley was signed Saturday and then designated for assignment Sunday. He allowed five hits, six runs (four earned) and two walks in 1 1/3 innings of a 16-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday.

The 31-year-old made seven appearances for the Yankees last year.

Mitchell was called up on Sunday as part of a flurry of moves, which included placing starting pitcher Ivan Nova on the disabled list and activating first baseman Mark Teixeira.

Mitchell is 1-2 with a 5.14 ERA with Trenton this season. He has not appeared in a major-league game.

 


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