PHILADELPHIA – On the day Cole Hamels announced he won’t be ready for the season opener, the Philadelphia Phillies helped their ailing starting rotation.
A person familiar with the deal said A.J. Burnett agreed to a one-year contract with the Phillies Wednesday. The person spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Phillies haven’t made an official announcement.
Burnett’s deal reportedly is worth $16 million. If Hamels is healthy, he gives the Phillies a formidable top three along with Cliff Lee.
Kyle Kendrick is slotted to be fourth in the rotation. Roberto Hernandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona, and Cuban righty Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez will compete for the fifth spot. Youngsters Jonathan Pettibone and Ethan Martin provide insurance.
Hamels told reporters in Clearwater, Fla., he has left biceps tendinitis, but expects to pitch in April.
Burnett was 10-11 with a 3.30 ERA for Pittsburgh last season. The 37-year-old right-hander is 147-132 with a 3.99 ERA in 15 major league seasons. He helped the New York Yankees beat the Phillies in the 2009 World Series, winning Game 2 of the six-game series.
Hamels initially said he felt discomfort in his shoulder. He called the ailment a “kink in the system” after he rebooted his throwing program in mid-to-late November.
“It was cranking back up on top of the weightlifting I was doing,” Hamels said. “I think it was just getting into the exercises too fast, too soon.”
A three-time All-Star and MVP of the 2008 World Series and NLCS, Hamels is coming off a poor year. He was 8-14 with a 3.60 ERA in his first full season after signing a $144 million, six-year contract in July 2012.
Hamels, who made his first opening day start last year, said he no longer is feeling pain or discomfort, but is “eight to 10 days” behind the rest of the pitchers in camp.
Phillies pitchers and catchers reported to camp on Wednesday, and they will hold their first official workout on Thursday. Hamels is hoping to throw his first bullpen session in eight to 10 days.