6/29/2013 10:37 P.M. ET
Phillies liked Puig before he signed with Dodgers
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig is one of the best stories in baseball.
He entered Saturday's game against the Phillies hitting .424 (39-for-92) with four doubles, seven home runs, 16 RBIs and a .696 slugging percentage in 24 games. Puig defected from Cuba in June 2012 and signed a seven-year, $42 million contract with the Dodgers.
It is terribly early in the deal, but it could be a bargain by the end of it.
"We saw him and we liked him," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said this week. "LA jumped up astronomically on him. Good for them; they did the right thing. It's a huge risk. It's paid off, so far."
Amaro said the Phillies also looked into other recent Cuban defectors like A's outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who signed a four-year, $36 million deal, and Cubs prospect Jorge Soler, who signed a nine-year, $30 million contract.
"We looked at them and had interesting conversations with their people," Amaro said. "But people decided it was worth the risk to go and throw big-time money at guys. You hope those things work out. Hideki Irabu didn't work out. [Jose] Contreras worked out on certain levels. [Rey] Ordonez. Dice-K [Daisuke Matsuzaka]. It's a risk."
Hamels' start pushed back two days for 'mental' break
LOS ANGELES -- The Phillies believe Cole Hamels needs a mental and physical break, so they have pushed his next start to Thursday in Pittsburgh.
He had been scheduled to pitch Tuesday, but Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said they hope two extra days of rest can help.
"It's like how I rested [Ryan] Howard," said Manuel, who benched Howard on Friday and Saturday at Dodger Stadium. "See if that won't help him some. See if we can't get him back to feeling good about himself. He benefits just by clearing his head a little bit and resting. We'll give him a blow, mentally and physically. Mental has a lot to do with it."
Hamels sounded very surprised to hear one of the reasons Manuel cited was a mental break.
"I don't know what he's talking about -- mental. That's Charlie," Hamels said with a chuckle. "I think it's just because I've been going every five days and traveling a lot. Sometimes you get the stressful innings and the physical toll just kind of adds up. I think they just want to make things a little more free and easy."
Hamels is 2-11 with a 4.58 ERA. He is the first Phillies pitcher to lose 11 games before July 1 since Claude Passeau and Wayne LaMaster in 1937. But Hamels said a mental break doesn't make sense because he is not an everyday player and already gets a four-day break between starts.
"I could understand if I played every day," Hamels said. "Physically, it just allows me to get an extra bullpen [session] in."
Both Hamels and Manuel said the pitcher is healthy.
"Totally healthy," Manuel said. "There is definitely nothing wrong with him. He's fine. As a matter of fact, he's very fine."
Brown making case for NL All-Star roster
LOS ANGELES -- Major League Baseball announces its American League and National League All-Star starters next Saturday, and the Phillies have a few candidates.
Domonic Brown is the only position player with a chance to make the roster. He entered Saturday's game against the Dodgers hitting .276 with 21 home runs, 55 RBIs and a .552 slugging percentage. Left-hander Cliff Lee entered the night 9-2 with a 2.51 ERA. Closer Jonathan Papelbon seemed to be a lock but recently blew four saves in an eight-day stretch. He is 2-0 with a 2.07 ERA and 15 saves.
"He's definitely worthy of it," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of Brown. "The numbers definitely prove that."
Though originally scheduled for July 7, the 2013 rosters will now be unveiled Saturday, July 6, at 6:30 p.m. ET on the 2013 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Taco Bell. The show will be televised nationally on FOX.
From July 6-11, be sure to return to MLB.com and cast your 2013 All-Star Game Final Vote, sponsored by freecreditscore.com, for the final player on each All-Star roster.
• Veteran right-hander Carlos Zambrano has been placed on the disabled list with Triple-A Lehigh Valley because of a stiff right shoulder. Zambrano lasted just two innings in Friday's start because of the injury. He had an out clause in his contract that allows him to ask for his release if he wasn't on the big league roster by Monday, but that obviously will not happen.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.