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Fine-tuning command Hamels' spring goal

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Cole Hamels summed up his rocky 2 2/3 innings on Tuesday against the Dominican Republic thusly:

"Thank goodness it doesn't count."

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The left-hander allowed eight runs on 12 hits, including a home run, and struck out three against a talented lineup in a 15-2 loss at Bright House Field. The Dominicans scored four runs against Hamels in the second and four more in the third, and he was removed after throwing 59 pitches.

"Obviously, what I was going out and trying to do, I wasn't able to accomplish it as well," said Hamels, who is the Phillies' presumed Opening Day starter. "They're very good at what they do. It's just a game where you take it and try to build on what you can for the next bullpen [session], and then getting ready for my next goal, which is try to pitch deeper into a ballgame. Establish strikes in the strike zone -- I don't think I was doing that as well as I know I can. And on top of that, when I was throwing strikes, they were hitting them. I didn't miss many bats."

Said Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee: "Spring Training has a purpose. One of the things is you've got to get your fastball going. He knows they're all fastball hitters over there. But he sprinkled in [nine] cutters, some curveballs -- I think he threw five curveballs -- seven changeups. But he wants to get his fastball command going. And that's the purpose today. It isn't about results right now. … He's facing an All-Star team, and he doesn't even have all his weapons."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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