ABERDEEN- Jason Hammel pitched well again in his second rehab start Tuesday night, and the right-hander said he's ready to return to the Orioles again.
Hammel threw four good innings for the Aberdeen IronBirds, allowing one run on three hits, and feels like he's back. He threw 36 strikes on 57 pitches and controlled all of his pitches very well against the Lowell Spinners.
"I'd say I'm ready," Hammel said. "I feel healthy, so I'm ready to go when they want me."
Hammel went four innings this time after he threw 2 2/3 shutout innings last Thursday with the Bowie Baysox. The only question after that start was where he'd go next, and the right-hander came to the IronBirds, who made the playoffs Monday night for the first time in team history.
He allowed just one run on three hits, all of which came in the third inning, and kept the ball down. Hammel really wanted to make sure he kept the ball at the knees or below, and he had good command of his fastball, sinkers and sliders. Seven of the 12 outs Hammel recorded came on ground-outs, which made him happy.
"I still feel it's where I need to be," he said. "I had a lot of ground balls today, and that's what I do well. That tells me something."
Now, the only questions involve when the Orioles want to bring him back and the role they choose for the veteran right-hander. Pitching out of the bullpen seems a possibility, something Hammel's done before, and he said if that's what the team wants, he'd do it. But Hammel does think he helps the Orioles more as a starter.
Still, it's September and a pennant race, and Hammel said he'll do whatever the team asks. Right now, he just feels good to feel good.
"Overall, i'm very happy," Hammel said. "I'm just happy to be healthy and feeling good."