Notes: Hamels always stays cool
Second-year lefty out to prove he can stay healthy, dominate
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Ice water courses through Cole Hamels' veins, figuratively and literally.Not only is the second-year pitcher a highly confident sort on the pitching mound, but part of his daily routine includes soaking in an ice tub, a treatment which is designed to help his back and keep him on the mound. "[I] drop the temperature down as low as it can possibly can," he said. "I get in there for about 15 minutes. Sometimes I'll do it twice. I'll do hot/cold, hot/cold, whatever it takes." Hamels is usually at the park around 7 a.m. ET for the start of exercises. He's usually alone, except for fellow workout fiend Jamie Moyer. Hamels' total workout, which consists of core exercises and general fitness, lasts between one to two hours, and the left-hander has gotten to the point where he knows it's something he has to maintain. He understands that health questions will always follow his career, despite the fact that he stayed healthy in 2006 and contributed mightily to the team's playoff push. "[The injuries were] something I caused," Hamels said. "It was a lack of appreciation of what I do and a lack of focus. I thought I could go out and do everything without preparing. I brought it on myself, and I have to correct it. It's something I'm going to do every day to prove to people and myself that I can go out there and be healthy every day." Hamels doesn't have to prove the quality of his pitches, as he breezed through three innings against the Yankees on Sunday at Bright House Networks Field. It instantly brought memories of his 2004 debut in a Phillies uniform, when he fanned Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Tony Clark, all using his devastating changeup. He was talked about as a future ace then, and began to live up to that potential last season. After posting a 6.27 ERA in June and July, the southpaw roared to a 2.60 ERA over his last 11 starts and was the team's best pitcher. On a club with Freddy Garcia and Brett Myers, Hamels might still be the ace. "He keeps his cool," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He doesn't get rattled. He's like ice water." With no touch of arrogance, Hamels places a high amount of importance on dominating the opposition and wears his selection as a former first-round draft pick with pride. "If you're drafted out of high school or college [in the first round], you must have been the leader on that team, to do something so special, and you did well enough to be drafted," he said. "I've always been the player who tried to put things on my shoulders when the time came, and tried to pull the team out of a rut or give them that extra mile. Hopefully when my time comes, I'll be able to step up." As for the ice water to which Hamels has become accustomed, teammate Scott Mathieson has a suggestion. He's invited Hamels to take part in the annual polar bear swim in Mathieson's native Vancouver, British Columbia. The swim takes place on New Year's Day, and swimmers plunge into English Bay, where the water is, well, cold.
Up next: Righties Freddy Garcia and Jon Lieber will each pitch for Philadelphia on Monday. Garcia is scheduled to pitch at the Carpenter Complex in a "B" game against the Blue Jays, and will be opposed by right-handers Dustin McGowan and Casey Janssen. Lieber will face Paul Wilson at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota at 1:05 p.m. ET.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.