When the Atlanta Braves signed Cole Hamels in December of 2019, they expected the 15-year veteran and former World Series MVP to add depth and playoff experience to their rotation. Instead, Hamels was abruptly placed on the 10-day injured list on Monday before ultimately being removed from the team’s 40-man postseason roster due to what team doctors are describing as a “really itchy” leg.
According to team physician Dr. Sharon H. Peavy, Hamels’ non-pitching leg started itching on Friday and has gotten progressively worse each day. By Monday, Hamels couldn’t handle the occasional scratching any longer and informed the team he wouldn’t be able to make his next start.
The “injury” likely puts an end to the Hamels era in Atlanta almost as soon as it started. After injuring his shoulder in February and developing tricep tendonitis over the summer, the lefty finally made his first start as a Brave on September 16th after a long rehabilitation process. Although the 36-year-old only lasted 3 ⅓ innings, giving up three runs on three hits, he showed flashes of his former self: striking out two batters on nasty cutters and demonstrating the perfect hair-to-hat ratio.
Hamels’ signed a one-year deal worth $18 million, but due to his limited performance he’ll receive a prorated $6.7 million dollars and season passes to Six Flags Over Georgia. And despite his short-lived stint as a Brave, first baseman Freddie Freeman said Hamels had become “like a brother” to him.
“My mom had an abortion when I was seven,” Freeman explained, “and it felt exactly like this.”
The Braves already lost ace pitcher Mike Soroka (Achilles) and former All-Star Mike Foltynewicz (he’s a crazy person), so uncertainty looms over the Atlanta rotation heading into the playoffs. But don’t tell Atlanta manager/leather turtle Brian Snitker he’s supposed to be upset.
“Guys are gonna get hurt, so we’ve got to have that ‘Next Man Up’ mentality,” Snitker told reporters in Tuesday’s pregame media session. “We’re not gonna feel sorry for ourselves because we know it could be much worse – we could be the goddamn Falcons.”