Cole is headed home. Kyle could be headed elsewhere. Phillies fans haven't sweated this much since Bud Selig called Game 5.
Nineteen days until opening day. Two months until teams establish much of anything. Today, the Phillies told their ace to take all the time he needs. It isn't necessarily a precautionary measure to get him ready for the season. It's protection for an investment they made for the next three. Regardless of whether he passes or fails his medical exam, the Phillies spared him from the longest spring training in baseball history. Any doubt as to whether the team can be trusted to monitor the health of their once-brittle ace should revisit his 262 1-3 innings and recognize the minor miracle. Clearly, someone knows what they're doing, whether it's a member of the medical staff or Cole Hamels himself.
Onto the diamond, where March 16 results mean less for the honeymooning Phils than precautionary exams. The Phils were smoked by the Yankees today 12-0. Kyle Kendrick allowed five runs on eight hits, four earned, in four innings, falling victim to some poor defense. First-hand accounts say he pitched better than his line suggests. Still, he's lagging far behind in the race for fifth starter. How far has he fallen? Well, an NL scouting source for ESPN's Jayson Stark believes the Phillies should consider shopping him.
Unless the Phillies are bowled over by an offer, I would be more inclined to hold on to the healthy 24-year-old who won 21 games for this team. Kendrick, who's in over his head as much as a player can be in spring training, would be a perfect test subject for the minor league option. If a change-up is what the they truly want from Kendrick, why not do what they did with Myers and send him not only to Triple-A, but Double-A, where he can really test drive his pitches? Take the entire season, or as long as it takes to get him ready for his next assignment, wherever that may be.
Transactions: Speaking of assignments, the Phils made a few before today's game. They re-assigned LHP Antonio Bastardo, RHP Blaine Neal, C Tuffy Gosewisch, C Paul Hoover, INF Mike Cervenak, INF J.J. Furmaniak, INF Jorge Velandia, INF Andy Tracy to minor league camp today. They also optioned RHP Andrew Carpenter, RHP Drew Naylor, RHP Scott Nestor and LHP Sergio Escalona to minor league camp. The only one that raises an eyebrow is Carpenter, but only because of the positive feedback coming from the Phillies' broadcasters on Saturday.
Clout Day at McFadden's: This is a final headcount for Friday's get-together, which I've penciled in for McFadden's at 7. Comment if you're coming.