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Hamels Set for Final Tuneup

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    Cole Hamels #35 of the Texas Rangers prepares to pitch in the seventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during game two of the American League Division Series at Rogers Centre on October 9, 2015 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

    Five days from now, Cole Hamels will step on the mound at Globe Life Park in Arlington and throw the first pitch of the 2016 season.

    Hamels, a seasoned ace with a no-hitter and World Series crowns to his credit, won't be fazed by that spotlight, but on Wednesday he gets one final tuneup for the real thing that is set for next week.

    Hamels will square off against the Royals in the Surprise finale after struggling through his last outing, but with a guy like Hamels it's hard to be too overly concerned even if he struggles again in this final tuneup.

    Hamels has a career 3.31 ERA and went 7-1 in his 12 starts with the Rangers last year — his first time in the more hitter-friendly American League and fear not because his Aprils and Mays have traditionally been his worst months as he's ramped up and basically gotten better with each passing month.