Cole Hamels signs with Dodgers, adds still-needed rotation depth

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Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Cole Hamels throws a pitch to the Baltimore Orioles during the second inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
The Dodgers have agreed to terms on a major league contract with free-agent pitcher Cole Hamels. (Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

The Dodgers signed free-agent pitcher Cole Hamels to a one-year, $1-million deal on Wednesday, a low-risk investment in a veteran left-hander who could provide rotation depth if Clayton Kershaw is slow to recover from a sore elbow.

Hamels, 37, will report to the team’s training complex in Arizona to build up arm strength before joining the Dodgers, who will pay him an additional $200,000 per start.

The front of the Dodgers rotation appears formidable with Walker Buehler, Max Scherzer and Julio Urias, and David Price is the No. 4 starter.

But Kershaw has been out since July 7 because of left elbow inflammation, and he suffered a setback over the weekend when he was unable to throw a scheduled four-inning, 60-pitch simulated game.

Right-hander Tony Gonsolin was also placed on the injured list because of an inflamed shoulder Saturday, and Trevor Bauer remains on paid administrative leave because of a domestic violence investigation. Manager Dave Roberts said Wednesday that both Kershaw and Gonsolin are in “idle mode” now.

“Neither one is playing catch,” Roberts said. “We have to get the pain to dissipate, and when they pick up a baseball and start their throwing progression, it will be news. But right now, we’re in a holding pattern.”

Hamels was limited by shoulder inflammation and fatigue to one game for Atlanta in 2020 after signing a one-year, $18-million deal with the Braves. The four-time All-Star began throwing earlier this year and impressed scouts during a July 16 workout in which his fastball touched 90 mph.

The San Diego native has a 163-122 career record and 3.43 ERA in 15 seasons, 13 with Philadelphia and Texas. He went 7-7 with a 3.81 ERA in 27 starts for the Chicago Cubs in 2019, striking out 143 and walking 56 in 141 2/3 innings.

Hamels has a 7-6 record and 3.41 ERA in 17 playoff games and was named most valuable player of the National League Championship Series and World Series during the Phillies’ 2008 run to the championship.

He went 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in two NLCS starts against the Dodgers and 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA in two World Series starts against Tampa Bay.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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