Braves Report: Cole Hamels likely to make his first start next week

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Cole Hamels continues to progress towards a return. He’s thrown a couple of bullpens, and last time we saw him, he pitched against Ozzie Albies in simulated action. Today, he took another step in the right direction, throwing in a live game at the team’s alternate site, and according to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman, everything went well.

From that tweet, it sounds like things went a little bit better than just good. He set the lineup down in order three straight times in only 43 pitches. Now, the competition at the Gwinnett site isn’t quite the same as what he will see in the majors, but the way he was able to cruise is encouraging. As you can see, Bowman expects him to make his Braves debut next week, likely against the Orioles on Wednesday.

Following last night’s win and the Phillies loss to the Marlins, the Braves now have a three-game lead in the NL East with just 16 games remaining. That does not feel very large with the current state of Atlanta’s rotation. However, if Fried and Hamels can return healthy next week, the Braves outlook will be much brighter for the rest of the season and into the playoffs.

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