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We're An Hour Into Spring Training and Cole Hamels Is Already Hurt

AJC — Cole Hamels will miss at least three weeks as the newly-acquired Braves pitcher was injured during an offseason workout, according to manager Brian Snitker on the first day of spring training Wednesday.

Hamels “irritated his shoulder” during an offseason workout with a weighted ball. He will visit with a doctor in Dallas and be evaluated in three weeks.

Well that didn't take long.

I know that in all likelihood this Braves team will be very good and compete for a third straight division title, but it's very disconcerting that the one fix to the rotation was giving $18 million to a 36-year-old coming off a less-than-stellar season and who is obviously still dealing with injury issues.

My hope is that Atlanta's training staff has proven itself to bring players along slowly — the Braves were extremely cautious with Mike Soroka and that obviously worked out well — so I'm hoping this really isn't a big deal and Hamels will be fine and ready to go by Opening Day.

But the Braves have been very lucky the past two seasons to really have no major injuries of which to speak, other than Dansby Swanson missing about a month towards the end of last season. But this team as it's constructed now is one injury in the top four or rotation away from really starting to fall apart. If any major offensive contributor — Acuña, Albies, Freeman or Ozuna — misses any appreciable amount of time, you have an offense that could go from elite to average pretty quickly.

If Hamels's issues continue, Atlanta will likely be forced to dip into prospects to fill that spot in the rotation. While guys like Kyle Wright, Bryse WIlson and Ian Anderson are undeniably talented, I'm not sure they're who you want making starts in August in the middle of a pennant race.

Let's just hope this really is only a three-week thing and Hamels comes back looking like a million bucks — or 18.