Normally, the day that pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training is filled with excitement and optimism. It means that baseball is right around the corner and most teams and their fans have their eyes set on the best possible scenarios for their team and on seeing how the team (and specifically its new additions) looks.
Paramount to this goal is staying healthy during spring training. Organizations have long complained that spring training is too long and one of the reasons for those complaints has been the increased risk of injury.
Well, the Braves' Cole Hamels doesn't have a lengthy ST stint to blame as he didnt even make it to the first day before getting shut down.
Cole Hamels is dealing with left shoulder discomfort he felt after doing a medicine ball drill. The Braves plan to re-evaluate him in three weeks.— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) February 12, 2020
To say this is not ideal is a bit of an understatement, but it is fair to temper one's anxieties a bit until we know the severity of Hamel's issue. Yes, the Braves are paying Cole $18 million in order to be that veteran stalwart in the rotation and yes, him getting shut down for three weeks before the first workout of spring training does not look great, but this could also be the Braves exercising an abundance of caution with a veteran guy.
Should Hamels' injury woes persist, however, that would seemingly open the door for one of the Braves' young arms to get in the rotation. Kyle Wright and Bryse Wilson were already in the mix for the fifth spot in the rotation along with Sean Newcomb who wants back into the rotation. Ian Anderson is also lurking as a non-40 man roster option although it does seem like we will start the season at Triple-A.
If the Braves really want a veteran option, they DID sign Felix Hernandez to a non-guaranteed deal. While many think that King Felix doesn't have anything left after a long and successful career, if he shows something in camp and Hamels misses extended time, the Braves could very well give him a shot.
The situation with Hamels will in fact prevent him from being ready for the start of the season according to GM Alex Anthopoulos.