Cole Hamels didn't create concern among Rangers fans in his last outing prior to Wednesday's Cactus League finale, but it reminded people that he has generally been a slow starter over the course of his career.
On Wednesday, he made people forget about that.
Hamels was really solid in his final spring outing, throwing five innings and allowing just one run on two hits to the defending champion Royals. He fanned five batters in five innings and walked none.
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''What I was trying to accomplish in spring, I feel pretty good and confident what I was able to do especially today,'' Hamels told reporters. ''It was getting that four-seam fastball in the bottom half of the zone and get the ground outs. I wanted to establish early contact. It's nice to at least have some quick innings.''
It was a stark contrast to his last outing against the Padres, when he threw 73 pitches in three innings. He needed just 61 pitches to get his way through five innings of work before getting out of town and heading back to DFW to prepare for Monday's season opener at home against the Mariners.
''When you get into the season, you need to have confidence you can throw certain pitches at certain times, how to get guys out and everything kinda changes when the season [begins],'' Hamels said. ''When the game is really on the line, you have a little bit more adrenaline, things just kind of completely flip. You just have to stay under control, just be confident in what you have and what you're going to go out there with.''