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Orioles right-hander Jason Hammel leaves game with right knee injury

By Eduardo A. Encina

9:00 PM EDT, July 13, 2012

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Orioles right-hander Jason Hammel left Friday night’s game with a right knee injury.

Hammel, who has become the Orioles’ ace after going 8-5 with a 3.47 ERA in the first half, came off the mound limping after a pitch to Tigers right fielder Brennan Boesch, the first batter he faced in the fourth inning. He left the game after throwing a few warm-up pitches and was replaced by Luis Ayala.

He will be re-evaluated Saturday.

The 29-year-old Hammel, acquired in the trade that sent Jeremy Guthrie to Colorado, has dealt with a sore right knee throughout the season, and the Orioles have given him extra days of rest before nine of his 17 first-half starts to make sure he stays healthy. He had the knee drained Sunday in Anaheim before the final game before the all-star break.

Hammel allowed two runs – both on a two-out, two-run single by Boesch in the first – on five hits over three innings, striking out five and walking one.

Hammel left the game with the Orioles trailing 2-1, but now trail the Tigers 7-1in the top of the fifth.