3/10/2013 7:40 P.M. ET
Adjustments on Hamels' mind despite strong effort
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Cole Hamels looked pretty good Sunday at Osceola County Stadium, but he came away unimpressed.
He allowed a leadoff double to Tyler Greene in the first inning in a 7-1 victory over the Houston Astros, but retired the next 14 batters he faced before walking Brandon Laird in the fifth. Hamels, who is the presumed Opening Day starter, allowed one hit, one run, one walk and struck out one in five innings. He pitched so efficiently that he threw in the bullpen afterward to reach his pitch count for the afternoon.
"I was trying to get down in the zone, and I wasn't able to do that in the first inning," Hamels said of his performance. "I had spurts throughout the game where I wasn't really able to execute pitches, but you just keep making adjustments. I was finally able to get a couple good pitches there, but it's not as consistent as where I need it to be. I would say all pitches."
Hamels, who has a 0.90 ERA in three Grapefruit League starts, said he expects about three more spring starts before he is ready for the regular season.
"It's a timing issue that I have," Hamels said about his delivery. "The more reps obviously will help get my timing back. That will allow for everything to start working. I feel strong and I know that's great, but I want to feel strong and you want your timing to be right on target, too."
Greene's double was the only hit the Phillies allowed Sunday.
Tricycle collision gives Manuel a good laugh
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Charlie Manuel occasionally reminds people he has been in baseball 50 years.
He has seen almost everything.
But it took until Sunday for a grown man pedaling a tricycle to crash into him on the field. The Houston Astros had a mid-inning tricycle race between two men, who pedaled from the home dugout down the third-base line past the visitors' dugout down the first-base line. One of the contestants steered his tricycle smack into Manuel, who was seated on the warning track between pitching coach Rich Dubee and catching coach Mick Billmeyer.
Billmeyer and Dubee nearly collapsed from laughing.
Manuel chuckled a bit, too.
"That three-wheeler got me," Manuel said after the Phillies' 7-1 victory at Osceola County Stadium. "I saw him, man. I thought, 'He better get over.' He got me. He ran over me with a three-wheeler. Dubee was supposed to stop him there, isn't he? He's supposed to save me. He let me get run over. He said, 'Go ahead, hit him.' He ran over my toes, too, man."
It was the most memorable moment of the afternoon.
"Watch those tricycles, Charlie!" Phillies front-office advisor Dallas Green said afterward.
• Chase Utley played in his 10th Grapefruit League game Sunday in a 7-1 victory over Houston at Osceola County Stadium. He went 0-for-3, dropping his spring average to .167 (4-for-24). "He'll be all right," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "He's just got to get a little mad, and he'll be OK. Throw some fits or something. He'll be all right."
• Former Phillies prospect Jarred Cosart hit Phillies left fielder Darin Ruf with a pitch on his left triceps in the sixth inning, and Ruf left the game. He told a team spokesman he is fine, only requiring ice for treatment. Ruf went 0-for-2 with one strikeout. He is hitting .188 this spring. Cosart plunked Josh Fields with a pitch an inning later. Fields had a few words for Cosart as he walked up the first-base line, but cooler heads prevailed. "Ruf is having a tough spring, man," Manuel said. "They're hitting him. He's hitting into bad luck. At times, he's always 0-2. He'll be all right."
• Laynce Nix homered to right field in the fourth inning. It was his first homer of the spring.
• The Phillies reassigned catcher Cameron Rupp to Minor League camp after the game.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.