Phillies' Hamels says first bullpen session went 'better than expected'

Jonah Birenbaum

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Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels, who's behind schedule due to earlier discomfort in his shoulder, was surprisingly enthused after throwing his first bullpen session of the spring on Wednesday.

“It was good,” Hamels told's Todd Zolecki. “Better than expected, which is huge. It didn’t feel as foreign, getting off the mound after such a long time. But everything felt good. Physically, I’ve been feeling great. It just carried over. Now it’s just getting the reps in, working on location, working on pitches. But I still have a really good feel for what I’m doing out there. Ultimately, I feel like my strength has really picked up. It’s just a matter of time of getting through the throwing program, the bullpens, the live BP and into the games. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Hamels, who's expected to throw his next bullpen session on Saturday, was initially bracing to miss the beginning of the regular season, but the 30-year-old appears increasingly optimistic that won't have to happen.

“Ultimately, I hope so,” he said. “I don’t think I’m going to have any setbacks. I feel really good where I am physically. I feel like they’re going to slot me in there and I’ll be able to get that in. I feel like I’ll recover like I normally do. I’m not worried at all about being ready for the season."