"I've been waiting for that day," Sandberg said. "First of all, we get everybody healthy. We get the full strength of the team with [setup man Mike] Adams and Hamels. The potential and possibilities in the rotation, once we did sign [A.J.] Burnett in the spring, we'll see it next week when Hamels is in there. We'll see the rotation in complete strength. I've been waiting for that day."
Cliff Lee will pitch Monday, Burnett will pitch Tuesday and Hamels will pitch Wednesday.
If everybody is healthy and pitches like they have in the past, it could be a formidable trio.
"I'm super excited just to be with them and watch the bullpens and be on the bench with them and know that I'm actually here to participate as opposed to just being around to get my work in," Hamels said. "I'll actually be able to have a part."
Hamels went 0-1 with a 2.12 ERA in three rehab starts with Class A Advanced Clearwater.
"I was able to go down there and get everything accomplished, my strength, building up pitch count and really try to execute pitches to both side of the plate," Hamels said. "That's what you need to be successful in the big leagues, you have to be able to hit both sides of the plate with all of your pitches.
"My workouts are pretty much what everybody else's are right now. Now kick it in gear and increase the intensity and know these games actually matter. This is where I wanted to be the whole time. It's just unfortunate I wasn't able to break early and be with the team early."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.