BALTIMORE – After more than three weeks on the disabled list, Jason Hammel worked his first bullpen session on Friday afternoon, and said it went well.
Hammel was placed on the 15-day disabled list on July 31, retroactive to July 29 with a strained right forearm.
He’ll throw again on Sunday, and if that goes well, Hammel will go on a rehab assignment.
“It went real well. Forty-four pitches and command of all pitches. It felt great. I felt the extension that I was looking for that I didn’t have before. So outstanding,” Hammel said.
“I’m not trying to stay on the DL. I’m trying to get back, so I might as well let it fly. It felt good for a few days now with the long toss and everything. I probably threw 30 from the stretch, next 15 from the windup and I felt real good.”
He’ll throw 60 pitches on Sunday, and then perhaps Wednesday or Thursday, Hammel could rehab at Bowie. He thinks he’ll be ready to throw five innings.
Perhaps Hammel could come back after two starts—or start and then maybe go to the bullpen.
“There are some things that bode well for him—that. He’s got a rested arm. If you look at him, history-wise, before we acquired him he really pitched well for Colorado, the last month of the season. At that time it was out of the bullpen, so it opens up some possibilities both ways for us. That gives us a lot of confidence that he’s got a chance to pitch well for us in whatever capacity the rest of the way,” manager Buck Showalter said.
Hammel hasn’t won a game since May 27, and manager Buck Showalter thinks that his weak performance could have been caused by the forearm discomfort.
“Ham’s got some things going for him. He’s healthy coming back, we think. And rested, and being very cautious with it. Because of the trade for Scott [Feldman] and Buddy, we were able to give it what was needed. We knew there was nothing structurally wrong there. It was just a matter of how he was coming back,” Showalter said.
Hammel is eager to return. Last year, he missed nearly two months after right knee surgery and came back in early September. He doesn’t want to spend too much time rehabbing.
“The fewer the better. I don’t want to be doing too much work in the minor leagues. I’d rather save my bullets for up here,” Hammel said.