July 09, 2011
OK, that's not entirely true. The Philadelphia Phillies lefty tells Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal that he's been miserable ever since going on a fishing trip on teammate Roy Oswalt's(notes) property on an off-day in Missouri on June 20. He and Phils' role player Ross Gload(notes) both decided to wear shorts and, of course, both came in contact with the poisonous plant.
But though Hamels told Rosenthal it felt like he was pitching with "razor blades on the back of my legs," his three starts since the run-in haven't been that bad. Over that time, he went 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA and 12 strikeouts and three walks over 20 innings of work.
Despite the physical discomfort, Rollins said there was no way that Hamels could have begged off any of his scheduled starts. Hamels agreed, disclosing his condition to his teammates who were "crying-laughing" and then shutting them up by soldiering on.
"I didn't even know I was pitching. I didn't focus on pitching. It was one of those things where every pitch I was like, 'OK, I think I'm done,'" Hamels said.
"You're ready to quit. It wasn't because of my arm. It just hurt so bad. The sweat didn't help. It was the most miserable three weeks of my life. I didn't sleep for three weeks."
Luckily, Hamels says the effects of poison oak have subsided in the past few days and he's scheduled to make his final start of the first half on Sunday against the Atlanta Braves. He's currently in the midst of his best season with a 10-4 record, a 2.40 ERA and 0.952 WHIP. That was more than good enough to earn him a spot on the National League All-Star team with Roy Halladay(notes) and Cliff Lee(notes), but pitching on Sunday will prevent him from playing in the All-Star Game on Tuesday.
Maybe he can use the extra time to go find some long pants for his next fishing trip.