Cole Hamels ends comeback, retires after 15 seasons

Cole Hamels ends comeback, retires after 15 seasons

Veteran left-hander Cole Hamels retired from baseball on Friday, ending a decorated 15-year major-league career.

The San Diego Padres announced Hamels’ decision after placing him on the voluntarily retired list.

Hamels was attempting a comeback with the Padres, his hometown team, after a litany of injuries – most notably an ailment that required shoulder surgery – derailed his career. He joined the Padres on a minor-league deal in February and spent the last five months working out at their Arizona complex but never appeared in a minor-league game.

Cole Hamels’ agent, John Boggs, said Hamels was having trouble recovering and throwing without pain. Doctors told Hamels over the weekend that his surgically repaired shoulder is inflamed.

— Dennis Lin (@dennistlin) August 4, 2023

Hamels made what turned out to be his final appearance with the Atlanta Braves in 2020, lasting 3.1 innings in his only start of the pandemic-shortened season. It was also the 39-year-old’s final game at any level, as he then suffered a significant shoulder injury and later battled knee and foot issues.

Hamels was under contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2021 but didn’t pitch because of the injuries. He sat out all of last year before his final comeback attempt.

Hamels is best known for his decade-long tenure with the Philadelphia Phillies, where he goes down as one of the best left-handers in the franchise’s long history. A fan favorite and critical piece of the Phillies’ run atop the NL East from 2007-11, Hamels was named NLCS and World Series MVP during the team’s 2008 championship run. He started a combined no-hitter in 2014 and threw a complete-game no-no in his final start with the Phillies.

Philadelphia traded Hamels to Texas at the 2015 trade deadline, and he helped the Rangers earn two AL West crowns in four seasons with the club. He later spent parts of two years with the Chicago Cubs, pitching them to a playoff berth in 2018.

Hamels, a four-time All-Star, ends his career with a 163-122 record and a 3.43 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 2,560 strikeouts over 2,698 innings. He also won seven games and posted a 3.41 ERA with 93 strikeouts in postseason play and is near the top of most pitching categories in Phillies franchise history.

A modern-day workhorse, Hamels threw over 200 innings eight times and averaged 180 innings a season. Only four pitchers have thrown more innings than Hamels since his rookie season in 2006.

“He had the qualities that Tony Gwynn had as far as working ethic and grinding at things,” Hamels’ agent John Boggs told Dennis Lin of The Athletic.

Because his last appearance in the majors came in 2020, Hamels will become eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2026.

San Diego also announced the retirement of veteran reliever Craig Stammen, who spent six of his 13 big-league seasons with the Padres. Stammen suffered what ended up being a career-ending shoulder injury last year.

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