The Phillies announced their Opening Day starting pitcher Thursday in about the stealthiest way they could, sending out an announcement a couple days after reporters tired of asking the question.

The choice was clear. Coming off a career season and monster six-year, $144 million contract, there wasn't a doubt Cole Hamels would stride to the mound April 1 in Atlanta.

Roy Halladay, who had started the last two Opening Days, had a dismal 2012 riddled with injury and uncharacteristically poor pitching. Cliff Lee logged a solid season, but had nowhere near the campaign Hamels enjoyed.

Hamels also is the longest-tenured pitcher on the staff.

"I’ve never really thought about it," Hamels said Feb. 23. "It’s one game, one appearance and then you’re back into the normal baseball atmosphere. I’ve never really looked at it as this big sort of ordeal. I’ve always valued the playoffs."

For Halladay, it will be the first time in a decade he won't be an Opening Day starter. That didn't seem to faze him, as he said earlier in spring training that Hamels deserved the nod, and needed to take the reins of being the staff's ace.