CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — Cole Hamels is thinking about this season and not the chances for free-agent riches next winter.
The 28-year-old left-hander prepped for the regular season by retiring his first 11 batters Thursday in the Philadelphia Phillies’ 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Hamels allowed one run and three hits in 5 2-3 innings, giving up Evan Longoria’s fourth-inning home run. He struck out seven and walked two.
Hamels is making $15 million this year, then can become a free agent.
“I haven’t been thinking about it at all,” he said. “It’s going to be one of those things that’s going to linger until something happens. But fortunately, with the way I go out every single day and the approach I take is just to go out and get in good shape and get my workouts in and do everything I could possibly do right on the field and then just things will take care of itself.”
With Ryan Howard set to begin the 2012 season on the disabled list while recovering from left Achilles’ surgery, Jim Thome made his third start at first base in five games. After little action in two games earlier this week, the 41-year-old Thome had his first ball hit his way.
Tampa’s Carlos Pena ripped a ball down the first base line that Thome was able to get to and flip to Hamels for the first out of the fifth inning. Thome stumbled to the ground after completing his half of the play.
“I asked him why he fell down,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel sad. “I asked him, Did you catch the ball or did the ball catch you?’ He said, ‘I caught the damn ball.'”
Thome played six innings at first base and went 0-for-2 with a walk.
Brian Schneider hit his first home run of spring training. He had a one-out, opposite-field double to left in the ninth, and Hector Luna hit a game-ending single.
Jeremy Hellickson gave up one run and seven hits in six innings for the Rays.
NOTES: The Phillies selected the contract of OF Juan Pierre. The 34-year-old signed a minor league contract with the Phillies over the winter that included a March 30 opt-out clause if he was not added to the 40-man roster. Pierre went 2-for-2 and is hitting .313. … Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. informed C Tuffy Gosewisch and OF Luis Montanez they would not make the 25-man opening-day roster. Both players will continue to travel with the team, however, in the event of injury. . … Philadelphia RHP Mike Stutes will not pitch as scheduled on Friday in Tampa. Stutes has shoulder soreness and won’t throw again until Saturday. … The Phillies optioned C Erik Kratz to their minor league camp and reassigned utilityman Tim Kennelly there.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.