Hammel, Lindstrom talk about joining Orioles

Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom were on today’s conference call to discuss Monday’s trade that sent them from the Colorado Rockies to the Orioles in exchange for Jeremy Guthrie.

Here is Hammel on learning of the deal: “Obviously, it was a surprise this morning. My plans had basically been finished for spring training in Arizona and set up ultimately for Denver, so I was a full go for the season. But that doesn’t change anything. Baseball doesn’t change for me.”

Hammel on a chance to be a full-time starter (he was temporarily removed from the Rockies' rotation and sent to the bullpen due to ineffectiveness in 2011): “It’s a different venue now, and I’m very excited to come over and help out the club in Baltimore. I was able to learn some things about myself and really take some steps in the pitching-mentally part of the game at the end of the season last year, and I am excited to go into the rotation with  the Orioles and see if I can help out the team any way that I can.”  

Hammel on pitching in AL East (which he did for three seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays), and not in the thin air of Colorado: “Obviously, I am familiar with the AL East. Having not been there for the last few years, the names have changed a little bit. I don’t know all the lineups like I did for those few years when I was with the Rays, but there are some familiarities there for me. It’s going to be a challenge. Obviously, I am going to learn some new guys. Also, working with [catcher] Matt Wieters, I am excited to work with him, get to know him, have a new catcher behind the dish. But no matter what league or division you are playing in, the game doesn’t change. It all comes down to execution, making pitches. I can help Matt [Lindstrom] out with certain areas like maybe hotels or things to eat and things of that nature. But as for the lineups and familiar faces, I’ll have to learn things from here.”

Lindstrom on AL East versus NL and Colorado: “I’ve never really had the luxury of facing pitching [at the plate] when it’s late in the game and stuff like that. I’ll look to my teammates. I’ll have a teammate in Kevin Gregg, who I spent a couple years in Florida with, who I really looked up to a lot. And I just look forward … to coming out of the bullpen at the end of a game.”

Hammel on why his strikeouts fell from 141 to 94 in the past two seasons despite pitching nearly the same number of innings: “I was thinking kind of the same thing, trying to figure out exactly what it was. Also, my walks went up a little bit, I think [from 47 to 68]. Commandwise, I was messing around with mechanics and things of that nature and I was actually hurting myself, so that’s why I got back to, towards the end of the season, getting back into [throwing to] the glove, not overthrowing, things of that nature. Mixing in what I did before. Basically, I hit a rough patch last year where I was in a pretty bad place and worked out of it, so I’m very confident that is behind me now. And, obviously, I worked really hard this offseason to prepare myself for spring training and this year coming.”

Lindstrom on interest in pitching in the back end of the bullpen and perhaps getting some save opportunities: “Absolutely. I’ve had a couple opportunities before, in 2009 and 2010 with the Marlins and Astros, to go out there and get saves. I had some ups and downs, and preparing for the World Baseball Classic in '09, had to be ready March 1 and I rushed certain things. I’m just kind of learning how to take care of my body a little bit better for a major league season. My mindset is more of a sprint, where a major league season is more of a grind. And you need to focus on maybe not overtraining as much during the season. But I definitely look forward to the opportunity in getting up there and helping to close games down, whether it be in the seventh, eighth or ninth inning. I have the same mind frame and approach every time I go out there. But I am definitely looking forward to the opportunity of maybe getting some save chances, for sure.”

Hammel on not pitching for an obvious contender now: “I’ve been lucky to join some teams and come up with some teams that have been very successful. But if you go before the playoff or World Series run with the Rays, I was on a Rays team that lost 100 games. So I’ve kind of seen both ends. And I can tell you from my standpoint, and every other baseball player’s standpoint, we are out there to win. It’s all about putting the right guys together. I’m very excited to go meet some new guys. And, you know what, these guys wouldn’t be in the big leagues if they weren’t good, so it is all a matter of development and experience, and I’ve been able to gain pretty good experience over the last few years and build myself and I can, in turn, help younger guys. And I am still learning the game, too. Obviously, I want to go out and win, and that’s my immediate thought for this season and beyond.”

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