Cole Hamels is close to being back.
The Rangers lefty made his second rehab start at Double-A Frisco, allowing one run on two hits in five and two-thirds innings in the Roughrider’s 11-2 win over the Midland Rockhounds. Hamels struck out seven on 81 pitches, 50 were strikes.
“Things went well,” said Hamels. “Ultimately, we’ll see how I feel tomorrow and get back into the five-day routine. Obviously bounced back really well from the last start with the five days. I think that will be the tell-tale sign with how I feel tomorrow.”
Hamels is on a rehab assignment after suffering an oblique injury last month. During his two starts in Frisco, one of the things he worked on was getting back in the groove with his cutter, which he threw frequently during this last outing.
“I didn’t throw a lot of good cutters in my last start so really tried to make sure I had that feel,” said Hamels. “It’s such a good pitch to get guys off-balanced and to make sure I can execute the other pitches. That’s kind of been the tell-tale sign for really establishing what the hitters approach is with that pitch. Since I was able to do that, it gave me a good idea what I could threw next to these hitters out there.”
Hamels will travel with the Rangers to New York for a weekend series with the Yankees. The hope is the ace will be ready to return against the Indians in Cleveland afterwards, although nothing has been confirmed.
Roughriders centerfielder Jose Cardona provided some offense in the third inning, showing why he’s a Texas League All-Star. Cardona left no doubt when he turned on one for a three-run homer. Leftfielder Scott Heineman also added a two-run shot for the Roughriders.
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As for Hamels’ time on the mound at Dr. Pepper Ballpark, it was a pleasant experience for the Rangers ace.
“I’ve heard outstanding things and coming here I have to say it’s one of the best Double-A stadiums I’ve come to,” said Hamels. “It’s a fun place. If you ever have to rehab, this is definitely the place you want to lobby towards.”
Frisco hits the round for a four-game series at Corpus Christi starting on Thursday. After tonight’s game at The Globe, the Rangers wrap up their series with the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday afternoon before embarking on a 10-game road trip against the Yankees, Indians and Chicago White Sox.