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Phillies Notes: Hamels on track to pitch for Phils next week

Cole Hamels will pitch Thursday in Clearwater and is expected to join the Phillies rotation next week in Los Angeles.

Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)Read more

Cole Hamels will pitch Thursday in Clearwater and is expected to join the Phillies rotation next week in Los Angeles.

"I'm optimistic about that," manager Ryne Sandberg said.

Hamels is recovering from left biceps tendinitis. It delayed his spring-training work and kept him sidelined since the start of the season. He last pitched in a rehab start Saturday in Clearwater, when he threw 67 pitches.

Assistant general manager Scott Proefrock called Hamels' return against the Dodgers a "distinct possibility." The four-game series begins Monday in Los Angeles.

Asked if Hamels needed to throw 90 pitches on Thursday, Proefrock said there was no set number.

"I think it's more obviously he wants to get stretched out so he's ready to come up here, but I'd be more concerned about the quality than the quantity," Proefrock said.

Gonzalez's shoulder

Righthander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez is "close to getting on the mound," Proefrock said. The Cuban import signed a three-year, $12 million deal with the Phillies in August, but he has been bothered by a shoulder injury and is on the 60-day disabled list.

"He's progressing well and certainly when he gets up to that point we'll hopefully get him a rehab assignment as soon as he gets himself stretched out and things continue to progress," Proefrock said.

The club is taking a cautious approach with Gonzalez, who still must go through a spring training-type regimen once he's healthy.

Martin's progress

Reliever Ethan Martin is throwing bullpen sessions and will be ready for "some sort of rehab here in the near future," Proefrock said.

Martin has a strained right shoulder and started throwing from the mound last week for the first time since late February. He started eight games for the Phillies in 2013, although Proefrock said the team views him as a reliever. Martin could help the club's struggling bullpen, but he cannot be viewed as a sure upgrade.

"He has very little experience at the major-league level, so to expect him to be a stalwart in your bullpen is a little unrealistic, probably," Proefrock said.

Ruf prepares to hit

Outfielder Darin Ruf has started baseball activities and will begin a hitting progression next week, Proefrock said. Ruf has been out since March 20 with a strained left oblique. The team estimated a four- to six-week recovery from the injury to the side, and that remains the prognosis.

Burnett starts Thursday

A.J. Burnett's start was pushed back a day to Thursday because of Tuesday's postponement, but the Phillies did not want to skip his spot in the rotation even though the righthander is dealing with a hernia.

"There was conversations with him, and he was feeling very good about where he's at right now and pitching on schedule with the extra day of rest," Sandberg said.