Orioles right-hander Jason Hammel declared himself “100-percent” healthy and ready to return to the major-league pitching staff Tuesday after he pitched four, one-run innings for Short-Season Class A Aberdeen at Ripken Stadium.
“I don’t know exactly what the plan is for the next couple of days, but I’ve done my work, they’re taking good care of me, and I’m feeling healthy, so I’m ready to go when they want me,” said Hammel, who is working his way back from a sore elbow,.
Throwing almost exclusively fastballs, Hammel breezed through the top of the Lowell lineup in the first two innings, topping out at 93 mph and sitting 90-92. In his third inning of work, Hammel began to mix in his secondary pitches.
His slider, which sat in the mid-80s, remained down in the strike zone throughout the outing, and elicited several weak contact from the Lowell hitters.
Hammel, however, ran into trouble in the third after the first two batters reached—first on a single, then a fielder’s choice. Lowell’s lone run against Hammel scored on a two-out line drive by third baseman Carlos Asuaje.
Still, Hammel was happy with the progress he made since his last rehab start Thursday in Bowie.
“(I had) even better command of the fastball than last time, good sinkers, and the slider was where it needs to be,” Hammel said. “Everything else was good too, but that’s what I was working out today, the fastball and the slider. I just wanted them to be down in the zone, and that’s what we did.”
Hammel was 7-8 with a 5.20 ERA before being placed on the disabled list on July 31. When he does return to Orioles, Hammel said he would prefer to do so in the starting rotation though he acknowledged that “it’s September—everybody is used in every situation.”
“I’m just happy to be healthy, I’m feeling good, and I know I can help the team,” Hammel said.