Hamels ready to show off skills in the desert

Rangers ace set for first-ever Cactus League outing

Hamels ready to show off skills in the desert

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Cole Hamels has started a lot of baseball games in his 11-year big league career. On Saturday he gets to do so for the first time ever in Cactus League play.

Facing the Giants in Scottsdale, the veteran left-hander is set to make his first Spring Training start for the Rangers. Hamels had spent every previous spring, since being drafted in 2002, with the Phillies in Clearwater, Fla.

After he was acquired at the Trade Deadline last season, Hamels went 7-1 with a 3.66 ERA and a 1.195 WHIP for Texas. He started Games 2 and 5 of the American League Division Series and allowed four earned runs and 10 hits in 13 1/3 innings.

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Manager Jeff Banister is simply looking for Hamels to continue that success.

"I'm looking for him to just go out and do what he does," Banister said. "Get ready, get prepared for the season. That's it with him."

Hamels has thrown at least 180 innings in each of the past nine seasons. He boasts a career 3.31 ERA and, perhaps more impressive, a 3.03 mark in the postseason.

AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.