New Orioles pitcher Jason Hammel ready to earn rotation spot

The Baltimore Sun

Less than two weeks ago, Jason Hammel was ready for spring training in Arizona and preparing for another season in Colorado.

On Saturday, Hammel arrived at the Orioles spring training complex in Sarasota – a new player in a new place after Baltimore’s Feb. 6 trade of pitcher Jeremy Guthrie. Right-handed reliever Matt Lindstrom also came to the Orioles in the deal.

“It was a pretty wild week when it happened, obviously because [it was] a week before spring training,” Hammel said. “It’s difficult to change your plans. It basically flips your world upside down because we were all set for everything being in Arizona and Denver. But I’m coming to a good group of guys here and meeting a bunch of new people and making some new friendships on a team that’s made some changes. So I’m really excited.”

Hammel will have his first workout as an Oriole this afternoon. The team is currently conducting physicals and biomechanical testing before heading out to the fields around noon. It’s very overcast here in Sarasota this morning and there’s a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms.

As for Hammel, he’s one of 30 pitchers in camp. At least a dozen will compete for the team’s five rotation spots. And even though Hammel is the team’s most established pitcher -- he has 115 career major league starts -- he realizes he will have to earn his spot.

“That’s the way I approach every spring, whether I’ve got a seven-year deal or a one-year deal,” Hammel said. “It doesn’t matter. I’m a big proponent of earning you places. Nothing should be given to you, so obviously im going in with the midset of winning a job. It hasn’t been given to me.”

The Orioles brought Hammel, who owns a career 34-45 record with a 4.99 ERA, to give them another starter who can eat up innings. Hammel tossed at least 170 innings in each of his three seasons in Colorado. He was 7-13 with a 4.76 ERA last season, mostly as a starter, but also worked out of the bullpen late in the season.

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