Woo! This is very good news, my friends.
A couple of days ago, Theo Epstein told us that Cole Hamels was feeling great after his bullpen session and could soon be looking at some real game action, depending on how his next bullpen session went. Well, apparently that next bullpen session went well enough, because reports have Hamels lining up for a rehab start with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs as soon as tomorrow!
Check it out:
Cole Hamels to pitch for Iowa on Tuesday at San Antonio
— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) July 22, 2019
That is very good news.
Of course, I wouldn’t go eyeing July 28th for his next start up in the big leagues. According to Gonzales, Hamels will be limited to just 40-pitches in his this first start back tomorrow, and then the Cubs will reevaluate their plans/schedule after seeing how he feels the next day. If he does feel well, though, this timeline does start to add up.
Epstein previously suggested that very-early August was in play for Hamels if everything broke right, and by my back-of-the-napkin calculations that could work. If Hamels needs only two rehab starts in Triple-A (one tomorrow, the 23rd, and again on regular rest, the 28th), he could be eyeing a return as the Cubs come home and host the Brewers at Wrigley Field from August 2nd to the 4th. And with the two off-days between now and then, tonight might actually be the last time Alec Mills needs to fill in for him.
I’ll temper my excitement for now, because who knows how Hamels will feel after tomorrow, but this is good news (have I mentioned that?). The Cubs could be getting one of their top starters back on the early-end of their expectations and at just the right time (Hamels versus Brewers in two starts this season: 13.0 IP, 9H, 3ER, 3BB, 10Ks).