Phillies' Cole Hamels sharp in start vs. Rays

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Cole Hamels is thinking about this season and not the chances for free-agent riches next winter.

The 28-year-old left-hander prepped for the regular season by retiring his first 11 batters Thursday in the Philadelphia Phillies’ 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Hamels allowed one run and three hits in 5 ⅔ innings, giving up Evan Longoria’s fourth-inning home run. He struck out seven and walked two.

Hamels is making $15 million this year, then can become a free agent.

“I haven’t been thinking about it at all,” he said. “It’s going to be one of those things that’s going to linger until something happens. But fortunately, with the way I go out every single day and the approach I take is just to go out and get in good shape and get my workouts in and do everything I could possibly do right on the field and then just things will take care of itself.”

Juan Pierre has made the Phillies’ Opening-Day roster.

Philadelphia selected the contract of the 34-year-old outfielder from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Thursday.

RANGERS: Yu Darvish is scheduled to make his major league debut for Texas in the fourth game of the season. He is set to start April 9 at home in a series opener against Seattle.

GIANTS: Are committed to keeping All-Star right-hander Matt Cain in their talented rotation beyond 2012, and CEO and president Larry Baer said Thursday that serious conversations are ongoing with the pitcher’s representatives.

INDIANS: Acquired reliever Jairo Asencio from the Atlanta Braves for cash.

Asencio was on the Braves’ restricted list all of 2010 after it was discovered he had come to the U.S. as Luis Valdez and claimed to be three years younger.

CUBS: Right-hander Randy Wells was among nine players sent to the minors by Chicago.

His demotion means Jeff Samardzija and Chris Volstad have made the starting rotation along with Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza and Paul Maholm.


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