MESA, Ariz. — Cubs left-hander Cole Hamels says he’s ready for “go time” and his first start of the season Sunday in Texas. But don’t blame him if he’d like at least a few more days in Arizona.
“Shoot, I’ve been having a pretty good couple days here,” said Hamels, who hit a third-inning homer off former Cy Young winner Rick Porcello on Monday night – one day after hitting the first hole-in-one of his life during a golf outing with Cubs teammates.
“Sometimes you don’t want it to end.”
Hamels pitched around some traffic and allowed one run on Andrew Benintendi’s homer during a five-inning tune-up as the Cubs beat the Red Sox 3-2 in an exhibition game at Sloan Park in Mesa.
“There’s a lot of firsts there, so hopefully we’ll continue it,” said Hamels, whose golf feat was broadcast on Instagram by teammate Anthony Rizzo – who apparently was equally impressed by the homer.
“He’s a little perplexed right now just because of what’s going on,” Hamels said. “It’s been fun.”
David Bote hit the go-ahead solo homer for the Cubs in the seventh.
In a frightening moment in the second inning, Porcello appeared to escape injury when Willson Contreras hit a line drive back to the mound.
The ball appeared to glance off the side of Porcello’s head as the pitcher tried to duck out of the way – the ball caroming out to right-center.
Porcello laughed as he got up, threw a couple of practice pitches, grinned at his manager and trainer and stayed in the game. He pitched four innings.
“He’s tough,” Hamels said. “I don’t know where it hit him because we don’t have instant replay – I’m glad we don’t so I didn’t have to relive it. But he looked fine when he was coming off [the field] so that’s a good sign.”