Hamels fights off flu symptoms

Hamels fights off flu symptoms

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Cole Hamels continued to exhibit the flu-like symptoms that kept him in bed all day on Wednesday and forced him to miss his scheduled outing.

But the team's ace lefty took to the mound on Thursday and threw 64 pitches in a Minor League game, just one field over from Kris Benson. Hamels worked five innings, allowing one run on two hits and a walk while striking out six.

"I had no shot of getting out there yesterday," Hamels said in a cough-interrupted, nasal voice. "I felt better today."

He didn't sound it.

Hamels should be recovered in time for his next scheduled outing, on March 18. Assuming that he sticks to a five-day plan from here, he's in line to start the second game of the regular season, on April 2 against the Washington Nationals.

One of the highlights from Hamels' afternoon came when he faced teammate Shane Victorino twice. The switch-hitter wanted to see a lefty to help his right-handed stroke.

Victorino flied out to left, then walked on four pitches in his second at-bat.

"It was fun," Victorino said. "I intimidated him in my second at-bat."

Hamels saw it a slightly different way.

"The first at-bat, I got him to chase a changeup in the dirt, then he hit an inside fastball for an out," Hamels said. "Then I walked him on four straight pitches in his next at-bat. He got in my head."

Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.