Hamels spoke as one of the many players helped by Lopes' influence, and not because the ace lefty wants to improve his base-stealing acumen.
Lopes, who stole 557 bases in his 16-year career, was helping Hamels prevent
"He knows so much about the game, and he helped me with my pickoff move," Hamels said. "That's something I'd like to work on. It's crucial to keep guys close to the base."
What did he learn?
"You want to keep the same mannerisms, and with me, I know it's a lot of leg movements," Hamels said. "I don't get the same leg height when I go home. That's something I'm going to focus on. That's a huge weapon."
The belt returns:
Ryan Howard couldn't wait to rub it in.
"Young James [Jimmy Rollins] had his time, but the belt has returned to its rightful place," Howard said. "It feels good to be on top."
Reclining in his chair on Thursday morning, Howard recalled the events of the previous night's weekly bowling challenge, when he and teammates Brett Myers and Shane Victorino wrestled the championship belt from a team headed by Rollins. A makeshift belt, awarded to each week's winner, had been moved from the locker of last week's champion, Rollins, to Myers' locker.
News and features:
Spring Training info:
Myers happy with final tune-up 400K
Clearwater trainer Hauser perseveres 400K
Scott Palmer checks in on Lidge 400K
Palmer on Phillies broadcasters 400K
Chad Durbin on trying to make Phils 400K
Phils players learn English 400K
Four teams rolled on Wednesday night in a pool-style tournament. The top two teams played in the winner's bracket, with the bottom two facing off in a consolation round. Myers' 279 helped propel Howard's team to the title.
"I struggled with the seven pin all night," Howard said, "but Brett brought it home for us. He took it all the way."
In last week's challenge, Howard's squad lost to Rollins', but took solace in taking one game in the best-of-three competition.
Because of Thursday's rain-shortened game, the Phillies and Rays will play an additional three innings after Friday's game at Progress Energy Park. J.C. Romero, who didn't pitch in Clearwater, will likely throw in St. Petersburg.
Hamels is scheduled to make his second start of the spring against the Rays at 1:05 p.m. ET, with top prospects Carlos Carrasco and Josh Outman also scheduled to pitch. Right-hander Jeff Niemann will start for Tampa Bay.