SURPRISE, AZ (105.3 THE FAN) - Since we have this access to the Texas Rangers players that we have for the week out here. Any chance we get to talk to a player or heat them talk about how they are feeling, we want to try to make sure we turn that information over to you the Fan.
Sunday afternoon, Cole Hamels talked after pitching a 'B' game. Let me make a few points that should seem pretty clear to average fans about Hamels. He was a huge blessing to this ballclub, a fantastic trade acquisition and much needed pitching depth that essentially propelled the Rangers towards the playoffs. He's the epitome of professionalism and a fantastic workhorse.
After his game today Hamels pointed out that after an offseason and gearing up in the offseason to the work that it takes to be an inning eating No. 1 is a little different than trying to prove to the manager that he can pitch against big league hitters in Spring Training.
"The repetitions definitely help for when you are out there for a length of time which is the five, six, seven innings," Hamels said. "So I think that's kinda what really works you know knowing that the next couple games I'll really be out there for the better part of the game which is what I'm here for."
As for the approach he's taking this season in his first Spring Training with the Rangers, Hamels says he is unfolding things a little differently this year.
"Everything's been feeling real good," Hamels said. "I think that's the case where I've really tried to focus on coming in and throwing every pitch from the get go. I think sometimes I've been hesitant and really broken out pitches as the Spring's gone on, and I don't think it's been as sharp for when I do get to the season so this year I wanna make it a main focus of mine of coming out and throwing every pitch. Just so I can get the reps in and the feel. When you are able to do that and the more pitches you are able to throw you know the better reps, the better feel, you don't make as many mistakes when it really does matter in the season."
For somebody like Hamels the level of the game and the experience he has with hitters around the league is far beyond what a rookie or second year pitcher is working on.
I remember talking to Mike Bacsik after I hit four out of 10 pitches off of him and he said after three pitches he could see my swing path and he knew where to throw to keep me from hitting again.
Hamels says with the familiarity he has with the league, strategy becomes more important.
"Once you get into the big league hitters you know them," Hamels said. "You feel comfortable and confident that now it's the game of chess that you are trying to play. You know what their swing paths are you know what they are trying to accomplish in the game. The game plan now, it's just really trying to execute the game plan. when you do get to the big league guys you understand the game plan and you have to execute your game plan."
With new pitching coach Doug Brocail, I'm thinking the game plan might not be that predictable.
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