Braves’ Snitker: It will be a while before Cole Hamels returns

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With July coming to an end, it’s fair to wonder if Cole Hamels will ever pitch for the Braves. The veteran lefty signed a one-year, $18 million deal with the club this offseason but suffered a shoulder injury while working out before Spring Training 1.0 began.

It became apparent rather quickly that Hamels wasn’t going to be ready for the start of the season back in April. However, there was hope that he would only miss a couple of weeks before returning to the mound. Now, it’s almost August, the restart of the season is set to begin on Friday, and Hamels is still not near a return. Over the weekend, Brian Snitker confirmed that he would not be ready to start the shortened 60-game campaign and then said today that it is going to be a while before we see him return to action.

I expect the Braves to place him on the Injured List any day now, and it will probably the 45-day, not the 10-day, opening a spot on the 40-man roster for another bullpen arm. As far as the starting rotation is concerned, Kyle Wright should receive the nod, even though Brian Snitker has yet to announce who the fifth starter will be. We know that Mike Soroka will get the ball on Opening Day, followed by Max Fried and Sean Newcomb. Mike Foltynewicz will open up the series against the Rays, who should be followed by Wright.

If the Braves go in a different direction, Josh Tomlin is a safe option, but they also have young arms like Touki Toussaint and Bryse Wilson in their back pocket if neither Wright nor Tomlin can prove effective. It could be a rotating door with the final spot in the rotation until Hamels returns.

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