Atlanta Braves SP Cole Hamels (triceps) not close to return

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Cole Hamels
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Cole Hamels has been sidelined all season with a triceps injury, a major blow for the team’s rotation. Unfortunately, Atlanta won’t be getting its starter back any time soon.

Hamels, who signed a one-year, $18 million deal with the Braves in December, has been sidelined since spring training 2.0 due to a triceps injury,

Latest update on Cole Hamels’ triceps injury

When Atlanta signed Hamels, it hoped the 36-year-old would provide a stable presence in the rotation. Hamels, 36, is a World Series champion who won NLCS MVP and World Series MVP in 2008.

Unfortunately, after 421 starts and nearly 2,7000 innings pitched in the majors, injuries have taken their toll. The Braves placed Hamels on the 45-day injured list in July with triceps tendonitis, ruling him out for a significant portion of the season.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Atlanta’s skipper Brian Snitker provided an update on the club’s veteran pitcher. While Hamels is feeling better, he hasn’t resumed throwing on the mound and Snitker wouldn’t commit to him returning to the rotation before the regular season ends.

It’s another unfortunate development for a club that has been plagued by injuries. Atlanta placed outfielder Nick Markakis on the COVID-19 injured list before Tuesday’s game. He joins stars Ronald Acuña Jr. and Ozzie Albies, who are both without timetables to return, on the IL.

Atlanta Braves trade targets with MLB trade deadline approaching

While Atlanta’s lineup has dealt with some turnover, its rotation has dealt with the most turmoil this season. The club lost ace Mike Soroka to a torn Achilles and sent down starters Mike Foltynewicz and Sean Newcomb after disastrous starts to their campaigns.

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With the MLB trade deadline fast approaching, the Braves need to find help outside the organization. While there will likely be fewer deals made at the deadline this season, a few options exist for Atlanta.

MORE: Five deals we’d love to see at MLB trade deadline

While the Arizona Diamondbacks are still contending, the club could look to move starting pitcher Robbie Ray this month. The 28-year-old has struggled this year, recording an 8.59 ERA with 20 walks allowed in five starts. Set to be a free agent at the end of the season, Atlanta could view Ray as a buy-low candidate with the hope he can rediscover his 2017 form (2.89 ERA, 1.15 WHIP).

The Braves could also explore a trade for Cleveland Indians pitcher Mike Clevinger. Sent down by the club for violating COVID-19 protocols, a move that angered the organization and teammates, Cleveland is reportedly willing to move him. The 29-year-old posted an incredible 2.71 ERA with a 1.06 WHIP in 126 innings last season and could step in as a front-line starter for Atlanta.

Of course, Atlanta could explore other options on the trade market. Texas Rangers pitchers Mike Minor or Lance Lynn could be available, along with San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Drew Smyly.