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Ace Hamels to have sore elbow examined

Associated Press / March 17, 2009
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World Series MVP Cole Hamels left training camp yesterday and flew to Philadelphia to have his left elbow examined by Phillies team physician Michael Ciccotti.

"He's had a little bit of a persistent soreness in his elbow. We do not believe it's serious," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "But at least at this time we thought it was important for Dr. Ciccotti to check him out and see if there's anything more serious than we think it is."

The 25-year-old lefthander made his first Grapefruit League start Wednesday. He pitched in an intrasquad game Sunday and didn't report any pain during four innings.

Hamels felt tightness in his elbow between innings and after he had finished pitching.

"I was able to throw [Sunday]," said Hamels, who agreed to a $20.5 million, three-year contract two months ago. "It's just been that kind of mild discomfort, something I don't want to have to deal with during the season."

Venezuela advances
Ramon Hernandez trotted home with a big run following a 10-minute delay, and now he and his Venezuela teammates are bound for Los Angeles and the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic. Hernandez was correctly awarded a home run following a replay review last night, and Venezuela delighted a cacophonous crowd of 25,599 in Miami by beating Puerto Rico, 2-0, to secure a spot in the final four. Puerto Rico lost for the first time in five WBC games and will face Team USA tonight, with the loser eliminated and the winner advancing to the semifinals this weekend at Dodger Stadium.

Meanwhile, the injury-plagued Americans were so shorthanded Sunday against the Netherlands that backup catcher Brian McCann played left field in the ninth. Asked during the team's batting practice yesterday who his third catcher would have been, manager Davey Johnson said he wouldn't have even tried to put a player in that position for fear of injury - even if it meant elimination.

"I would definitely [have] gone out and said we had to forfeit this game," Johnson said.

Manny out a week
Manny Ramírez's hamstring injury will keep him out of spring training games for at least a week. "We're just going to lay low until we get rid of this," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said . . . All-Star Hanley Ramirez was held out of the Marlins' lineup against Washington because of discomfort in his right shoulder . . . Royals righthander Julio Pimentel will be out at least six weeks because of an injury to his pitching elbow, and possibly the season if surgery is required . . . The Astros and catcher Ivan Rodriguez are closing in on a $1.5 million, one-year contract, a person familiar with the talks told The Associated Press . . . Jerome Williams, trying to return to the majors after his once-promising career was stalled by weight problems, was among eight players the Athletics sent to the minor leagues . . . Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano had an MRI that found bursitis in his right shoulder, but he could play the field Friday . . . Julio Franco is joining the Mets as manager of the rookie level Gulf Coast Mets.

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