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Hamels has mixed results in 4 1/3-inning return

Left-hander activated before Monday's game, tagged for 7 runs
MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- Rangers starter Cole Hamels took the mound on Monday for the first time since April 26. Unfortunately for the left-hander, his return to the Majors after missing nearly seven weeks with an oblique injury didn't go quite as planned.

The Rangers activated Hamels from the 10-day DL to start the series opener, but Hamels lacked command in the 15-9 loss to the Indians from the get-go, and was ultimately charged with seven runs on eight hits, four walks and a wild pitch in 4 1/3 innings.

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CLEVELAND -- Rangers starter Cole Hamels took the mound on Monday for the first time since April 26. Unfortunately for the left-hander, his return to the Majors after missing nearly seven weeks with an oblique injury didn't go quite as planned.

The Rangers activated Hamels from the 10-day DL to start the series opener, but Hamels lacked command in the 15-9 loss to the Indians from the get-go, and was ultimately charged with seven runs on eight hits, four walks and a wild pitch in 4 1/3 innings.

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"I wasn't able to really go out there and get in a rhythm," Hamels said. "I wasn't able to really dive in and get the quick outs. Being able to establish the strike zone early ... I wasn't able to do that. That just kind of leaves you in some pretty peculiar situations because you're giving guys opportunities to swing away on pitches that are probably going to be around the heart of the zone."

Hamels was handed a 4-0 lead before ever throwing a pitch, but he issued consecutive walks and allowed a single to begin his outing. Although he escaped a bases-loaded jam with no outs in the first with just one run of damage, Hamels was already almost a third of the way to his planned pitch count after one inning of work.

"Our pitch count for him was right at the 90-pitch mark tonight," Twins manager Jeff Banister said. "The first inning, I think it was 26 pitches in the first situation to get that pitch count up quickly."

The lefty found himself pitching through plenty of traffic in his return. In all, Hamels faced 25 batters -- 13 over the minimum -- and did not record a 1-2-3 inning.

"He was behind in the count a lot, which is not like him," Rangers catcher Jonathan Lucroy said. "It really didn't matter who's on the mound really. If you're behind in the count a lot, eventually somebody's going to get you. That's the storyline tonight."

The Rangers pulled Hamels with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth and the Rangers leading, 9-4. The Indians went on to score three in the frame off of reliever Dario Alvarez, and another eight runs in the sixth and seventh innings against the bullpen to saddle Hamels with a no-decision.

"[Our offense] had good at-bats early," Indians reliever Bryan Shaw said. "I mean, I think Hamels threw like 30-something pitches the first inning or two. We had guys on, we had opportunities, you know, and they grinded out at-bats all game. They did a really good job of keeping us in there and keeping us where we got to."

Despite the rough outing, Hamels said it was nice to return to the mound and shake some rust off.

"I felt good being able to build up and test myself in the situations I was in," he said. "I would have liked to go more innings. I was able to get my pitch count up to the 90 mark. That's probably going to be the limit, that 90-100 mark before we can really just let it go and forget about everything that transpired for the last two months. Trying to get over an injury. It is what it is."

William Kosileski is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.

Texas Rangers, Cole Hamels