The Phillies scratched Hamels from Friday night's start against the Cardinals because of a strained right hamstring. But Hamels said he feels much better, and he said the Phillies scratched his start as "more of a precaution than anything."
Hamels said he first felt something following Tuesday's bullpen session.
"It felt like a cramp," he said. "It was just tight."
Hamels, who will throw a bullpen session Sunday to test the hamstring, is always in tune with how his body feels, so the fact he wanted to be cautious about his hamstring is no surprise. He certainly did not want to push the issue and tear something. Certainly not now. The July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline is just 42 days away. The last thing Hamels needs is a serious injury.
But Hamels, whom the Phillies are trying to trade, downplayed the proximity of the Trade Deadline to the way he handled the injury.
"My focus is to play on this team and win ballgames, and that's what I'm trying to do," he said. "I want to maintain the level of play that I know I'm capable of going out there and doing. And that's not because of other situations, but it's because that's who I am -- and what I've learned, in the past, with trying to push through certain injuries.
There are times when you just want to be smart no matter what the circumstances are. I know they're a little bit different than previous circumstances in previous years, but I'm not going to change the way I like to play the game and prepare for the game."
But the Trade Deadline is on his mind. It is why he cleaned out his locker to get teammates and members of the media to think he had been traded during Thursday's 2-1 victory over the Orioles.
"We've kind of been battling some tough morale, so just something to distract everybody," he said about the prank. "I think with a lot of them it worked. I think even today they didn't know what to expect."
"Cole, glad to see that trade didn't go through," closer Jonathan Papelbon said as he walked past Hamels.