DENVER — Cole Hamels roamed the visiting clubhouse Saturday at Coors Field. He followed A.J. Burnett to the bullpen to watch his teammate throw. He affixed cuff weights to his wrists for shoulder exercises. He watched video of Dodgers hitters.
He had a purpose.
"I'm actually here to participate as opposed to just being around to get my work in," Hamels said. "I'll actually be able to have a part."
The Phillies will unveil their $144 million ace Wednesday at Dodger Stadium. Hamels, who pitched in five minor league games — including three for single-A Clearwater — said he has zero restrictions after biceps tendinitis halted his winter throwing program and later slowed him. He will not have a pitch count. He feels like he would on any opening day.
"I know I'm capable of being out there for stressful innings," Hamels said. "I had enough time to work on all my pitches. I think that's key. I don't want to have to get to the big leagues and not be able to perfect a certain pitch and then you're in a certain situation with a hitter and this is a pitch you need to get him out. I have confidence I'll be able to throw every pitch when the situation arises."
Hamels struck out 12 and walked one in his three starts with Clearwater. He was most pleased at his ability to spot his fastball and change-up on both sides of the plate. He said he accomplished what he wanted in the minors.
Next are the Dodgers, one of the toughest lineups in baseball.
"It doesn't matter who you're facing, what age, what level, you have to throw strikes and hit your spots," Hamels said. "To be able to do that and recover that was huge for me."