Left-hander Cole Hamels said that he took a step forward Wednesday in his preparations for the regular season when he allowed one run in three innings of a minor-league game.
Hamels, the Rangers’ Opening Day starter last season, threw 41 pitches/29 strikes and finished with three strikeouts. He allowed three hits and hit a batter, but didn’t issue any walks.
Hamels was pleased with how much smoother his mechanics were than last time out, when he allowed four runs and retired only one of the six batters he faced. He had a better feel for the three pitches he focused on.
“I did a lot of good work the past couple days leading up to it, so my main focus was just staying on par with what I was trying to accomplish and keeping good mechanics and letting the ball come out of my hand more out front with all three pitches,” Hamels said. “It felt a lot better today with the repetition and the feel.”
Hamels, pitching in a High A game, worked two scoreless innings, striking out three, before allowing a triple and a single to open the third. He also hit a batter in the inning but picked off a runner.
He could pitch Tuesday in another minor-league game. His next outing will cover four innings as he continues building arm strength.
“With the workouts we’re doing, my body is starting to pick up and be at a point where I’m a lot more comfortable with knowing I can go out there and work my game plan,” Hamels said.
Matt Bush and Keone Kela had no trouble pitching for the Rangers’ Low A club. Each tossed a perfect inning on 11 pitches, with Bush record on strikeout. Wesley Wright also need only 11 pitches in his scoreless innings, and R.J. Alvarez allowed allowed one run on in his 16-pitch inning.