Hamels will undergo an MRI on Wednesday and said he expects to be placed on the disabled list, making him unavailable for the series against the Mets. Hamels could miss up to three weeks.
Hamels felt discomfort two days before his start last Thursday in Washington, but survived 6 2/3 shutout innings and 101 pitches in sweltering heat and humidity -- an outing in which Hamels admitted he was tired by the third inning.
The young lefty felt fine again playing long toss, then felt a "twinge" during a bullpen session on Sunday. On Tuesday, he brought it to the team's attention. J.D. Durbin will start in Hamels' stead on Wednesday against the Dodgers, and the team hopes their All-Star hurler is fine after that.
"We'll see what the MRI shows," team doctor Michael Ciccotti said. "Obviously, he's going to miss [Wednesday's start] and it will depend on how long it takes his pain to resolve."
Hamels has been the team's most consistent starter, logging 167 1/3 innings in 25 starts, nearly as many as the 181 1/3 he compiled with three levels in 2006. Manager Charlie Manuel said last week that he was concerned by the amount of use for Hamels and rookie Kyle Kendrick.
"That was a big surprise today," Manuel said. "This is the most he's pitched. Hopefully, the results will come back and they'll be good. I think he'll be OK, really. I think stuff like that is natural."
This injury leaves Jamie Moyer as the only Phillie in the starting rotation not to miss a turn this season.
Hamels' health has slowed his ascent to the Major Leagues. Back issues hurt him in '03 and elbow tendinitis derailed him in 2004. Ciccotti said Hamels' elbow injury is unrelated to the tendinitis.
Hearing the news of a potentially devastating loss -- especially on the heels of Chase Utley's impending return -- didn't faze the players, who have dealt with a total of 16 players landing on the disabled list. Hamels would be the 17th.
"I didn't have a reaction," Jimmy Rollins said. "We've had so many injuries that it really doesn't seem like news anymore. It's just like, 'Who's going to be next?' You count on some injuries, but not all those guys. A closer, another closer, starter, starter, MVP, future MVP. You'd think it would take away from what's going on in here, but we have a belief in here that we can win."
The Phillies might have to do that for the next three weeks without their ace, and the Phillies remained confident in their ability to live through another injury to another key player.
"We have heart, man," Brett Myers said. "I think this team has that edge. Teams that have been here the past four years haven't had that edge. . . . No disrespect to those other guys, but it just seems that will to win is here more this year than it has been in the past."
How far can that take the Phillies?
"You've seen those feel-good movies," Myers said. "In Rudy, it took him all the way until the end and he got to play in a game, right? That's a true story, right? Heart takes you a long way, man. That's how you get off the canvas."
When asked if the Phillies were the "MacGyver" of baseball, a reference to the 1985-92 television show starring Richard Dean Anderson as an extremely resourceful secret agent, Rollins laughed.
"Yeah, with duct tape and Motrin," Rollins said. "We'll just keep finding ways to get it done."