Major League Baseball suspended Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Cole Hamels five games on Monday for intentionally throwing at Nationals’ outfielder Bryce Harper Sunday night. Hamels, who hit Harper with a 93-mph fastball on his first pitch to the 19-year-old, is not expected to appeal his suspension and could be available to make his next start on Sunday, according to reports out of Philadelphia.
The Phillies have an off day on Thursday so Hamels will not technically miss a start, meaning the consequence to the Phillies competitively is fairly minimal. Roy Halladay, Monday night’s starter, could conceivably make Saturday’s start on regular rest, allowing Hamels to pitch Sunday. Hamels will suffer financially, though.
Jordan Zimmermann, who hit Hamels with a pitch in the second inning, will not be disciplined.
Hamels’ actions, and subsequent admission that he was trying to hit Harper, provoked Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo. Rizzo told The Washington Post Hamels’ actions were “gutless,” “chicken (expletive)” and “fake tough.”
Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer quoted Phillies GM Ruben Amaro as saying “That’s part of the game, but as far as how the Phillies want to conduct themselves, we like to try to take the high road on things like this. By no means are we condoning trying to be injurious.”
In a day filled with back-and-forth about the issue, including former major leaguer Morgan Ensberg writing on twitter he was “disappointed” by Hamels’ actions and words, and “whoever is the leader on that team doesn’t have control.” Phillies reliever Chad Qualls then responded to Ensberg by taking a shot at Zimmermann, who said he was not trying to hit Hamels.
“They hit Cole right back but said not on purpose,” Qualls wrote. “Yeah right. At least Cole was a man and didn’t lie about it.”
– Washington Nationals right-hander Chien-Ming Wang will make his third rehab start on Wednesday with Triple-A Syracuse, the Chiefs announced Monday. Wang is rehabbing from a strained left hamstring suffered on March 15.
Wang began his rehab assignment on April 28, pitching for Single-A Potomac in his first appearance and Single-A Hagerstown in his second. He is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA during his stint, throwing 10 total innings and allowing seven hits, three runs (two earned) and one walk. He’s struck out 10.
The Nationals’ reports from Wang’s rehab starts have been positive and the health of both his shoulder and hamstring appear to be strong.
The Nationals don’t have to activate Wang until May 27 and with their starting rotation pitching as well as they are right now, the Nationals could very well keep Wang on rehab as long as possible and delay making a decision on whom to remove from their rotation upon his return.