LHP Hamels rejoined Braves, but still ways off from pitching

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NORTH PORT, Fla. (AP) – Cole Hamels rejoined the Atlanta Braves just in time for their spring training opener. The injured left-hander is still a ways off from using the mound at the club’s new spring home, though.

Hamels signed an $18 million, one-year deal with Atlanta this offseason but informed the team just before camp started that he was experiencing shoulder discomfort during training. The 36-year-old was sent to Dallas to get treatment from surgeon Keith Meister.

Now he’s back but says he’s waiting for inflammation in the shoulder “to calm down.” He expects to remain in North Port after Atlanta breaks camp for opening day.

“I know I’m behind the 8-ball,” he said. “But once I knock (the inflammation) out right away, I know I’ll be able to be the best pitcher I can and put up good numbers.

“I need to come back at 100%. This is an extremely talented team so I when I come in to take over a spot, I want to be ready.”

The 14-year-veteran went 7-7 with a 3.81 ERA last season with the Chicago Cubs. Atlanta was certainly hoping he might top last year’s output of 141 2/3 innings, but that may be in question after his shoulder flared up doing weighted ball drills.

“It hit a point where I couldn’t get past (the pain),” Hamels said. “Soreness is good but you have to know what’s good and what’s bad. I wasn’t feeling as good as I thought I should and I couldn’t overcome it without asking the right questions.”

In its Grapefruit League opener, Atlanta got two shutout innings from Félix Hernández in a 5-0 victory over Baltimore.

Hernández , who spent his first 15 seasons with the Mariners before signing a minor league deal with the Braves in the offseason, allowed only a walk and struck out two.

Ronald Acuña Jr. doubled and scored a run for the Braves. Ozzie Albies singled and walked, scoring twice, while Adam Duvall doubled in a run.

Baltimore managed just four singles.

SHOULD’VE STAYED UP NORTH

Six games scheduled for the Cactus League were wiped out by heavy rain in Arizona. Flash flood watches were issued for the area, leading to opening day postponements or cancellations for Royals-Angels, Angels-White Sox, Reds-Indians, Brewers-Rangers, Diamondbacks-Rockies and Mariners-Padres.

FROM AROUND THE GRAPEFRUIT LEAGUE

CARDINALS 2, METS (SS) 0

Jack Flaherty was named St. Louis’ opening day starter, then tossed two shutout innings, allowing two hits while striking out three, against a New York split squad. Tyler O’Neill hit a solo home run off Mets starter Marcus Stroman in the second inning.

Stroman gave up one run, three hits and a walk, striking out two while retiring four batters. J.D. Davis had a double for the Mets.

MARLINS 5, METS (SS) 3

Jordan Yamamoto surrendered three runs, two earned, on three hits, pitching two innings for Miami against a New York split squad. Harold Ramirez hit a solo home run for Miami.

Rick Porcello, who signed with the Mets after five seasons in Boston, gave up a run on two hits in one inning of work. Wilson Ramos had a two-run double in New York’s three-run first inning.

RED SOX 4, RAYS 3

Andrew Benintendi had one of Boston’s seven hits and the Red Sox used a three-run eighth inning to win their opener.

Ryan LaMarre had an RBI single in Tampa Bay’s three-run ninth.

BLUE JAYS 2, YANKEES 1

Anthony Alford singled and stole three bases, including home plate in the seventh inning, for Toronto. Trent Thornton, vying for a rotation spot, allowed a walk in two scoreless innings.

J.A. Happ started for New York, pitching two perfect innings and striking out three. The Yankees’ run came in the ninth inning on a solo homer from Chris Gittens.

TWINS 2, PIRATES 1

Willians Astudillo and Jake Cave had RBI singles in the third inning for Minnesota.

Mitch Keller, the Pirates’ top pitching prospect who is expected to break camp in the starting rotation, surrendered two hits in two scoreless innings.

TIGERS 8, PHILLIES 8

Jonathan Schoop, Christin Stewart and JaCoby Jones all had RBI singles in the second inning as Detroit took an early lead. Jordan Zimmermann allowed a hit and three walks, pitching two scoreless innings in a start.

Philadelphia’s top prospect Alec Bohm had two hits, including a run-scoring single that ignited a six-run eighth inning. Newcomer C.J. Cron doubled and scored.

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Atlanta Braves first baseman Freedie Freeman and the team take batting practice while preparing to play the Baltimore Orioles in a spring baseball game at the Braves new facility CoolToday Park on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in North Port, Fla. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
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