Hamels to make long-awaited Braves debut Wednesday vs. Orioles
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Cole Hamels is finally going to throw a pitch for the Atlanta Braves.

After spending the entirety of 2020 on the injured list, the veteran left-hander will be activated in time to start for the Braves on Wednesday against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards, according to Gabriel Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Hamels signed a one-year, $18-million contract with Atlanta over the winter. He was expected to replace Dallas Keuchel as the team's reliable veteran starter as part of a club with championship expectations. A string of injuries that started before the COVID-19 stoppage has left him unable to contribute.

After reporting to spring training, the 36-year-old suffered a shoulder injury and didn't pitch in a Grapefruit League game. Hamels reported to summer camp healthy thanks to the pandemic stoppage, but then developed triceps tendinitis and landed back on the injured list.

Hamels has been rehabbing by throwing simulated games; he tossed 43 pitches in his most recent outing. The Braves will keep him on a strict 60-pitch count Wednesday to build up his stamina ahead of the postseason.

"He knows what he's doing," Braves manager Brian Snitker said, according to Burns. "He's very competitive. ... We'll do the smart thing, get him to 55 or 60 (pitches) the first time, and he'll let us know as we go."

The former World Series MVP will provide a much-needed boost to a Braves staff decimated by injuries. Ace Mike Soroka was lost to a torn Achilles in August, while breakout star Max Fried and deadline acquisition Tommy Milone both landed on the IL earlier this month.

Because Hamels is on the 45-day IL, Atlanta will need to clear a 40-man roster spot before activating him.

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Hamels to make long-awaited Braves debut Wednesday vs. Orioles
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