PHILADELPHIA -- Cole Hamels realizes that he might not feel 100 percent for the season's final month, but the Phillies ace will take 85-90 percent and stretch it out as far as he can. "That will be pretty good," Hamels said. "The fight is to make that 90 percent go as far as 100 percent." Hamels took another large step toward that goal Tuesday by throwing a 25-pitch bullpen session, throwing fastballs and changeups. He'll mix in curveballs on Friday and said he'll likely start on Sunday in the series finale against the Marlins in Miami.
"It's definitely progress, being able to get back on the mound and see what I have," said Hamels, who is recovering from left elbow inflammation. "I was throwing with ease." Hamels has racked up 167 1/3 innings this season in 25 starts, and had generated a pace of 230 innings, far exceeding his professional high of 181 1/3, set last season in the Majors and Minors combined. Though he doesn't want the break, these two weeks could become huge in the final month. "My body feels a lot fresher," Hamels said. "Before this, I was dragging. I feel energized." Hamels blames himself for his injury, which occurred on the first pitch of an Aug. 14 bullpen session, two days before a gutsy 6 2/3-inning effort against the Nationals. He said he felt fine in that game, then felt something the next day and in a bullpen session in Pittsburgh on Aug. 19. He had been scheduled to start on Aug. 22 against the Dodgers. Hamels said that since freak injuries find him, he has to be more vigilant. On the day before his bullpen session in Washington -- an off-day -- Hamels said he relaxed rather than doing his shoulder exercises. That won't fly anymore. "On the first pitch of the [Washington bullpen session], right after that day off, I warmed up with a fastball, and cocked my arm back too far," Hamels said. "After that game, I started feeling it. It can be one little thing." The end: Outfielder Shane Victorino can take the "W. Pipp" down from above his locker. Jayson Werth has finally made an out. Teammate Jon Lieber, in town for a visit, placed the tape above Victorino's name after Monday's game as a reference to Wally Pipp, who famously lost his job to Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig. Werth struck out looking in his first at-bat on Tuesday, missing his chance to became to 11th National Leaguer to record hits in 10 straight at-bats. He also fell three shy of tying the Major League record held by Walt Dropo and Pinky Higgins. Werth claimed not to change anything heading into the game, though manager Charlie Manuel hit him sixth instead of seventh, and Werth was wearing a different backward baseball cap. "Thanks for noticing," he said. "It's just the one I saw on the way out the door today. It's pretty funny. For me, this has been about being in a position to hit, and allowing it to happen. There's something to be said for being in the zone. I'll fallen into some good habits and some good routine, and I have confidence in the box." Coming up: Jamie Moyer, who faces fellow lefty Oliver Perez on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. ET, is in a bad place, compiling a 7.27 ERA in five August starts. His latest struggle came against the Padres on Friday, when he allowed six runs in 4 1/3 innings. The lefty is 0-1 with a 3.46 ERA in two outings against the Mets this season.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.