NEW YORK -- Orioles right-hander Jason Hammel, named the starter for a decisive ALDS Game 5 if needed, said his right knee felt good after a between-start bullpen session before Wednesday’s Game 3.
“It was a little stiff from the bus ride, but it everything was good,” Hammel said, referring to the Orioles’ impromptu bus ride early Tuesday morning after their train broke down. “There’s no pain, it’s just discomfort. It’s back to the part where there’s some swelling or some fluid could be in there but it’s hit or miss every day depending on workload.”
In his first start since limping off the mound in the fourth inning Sept. 11 against the Rays, Hammel allowed just two runs on four hits over 5 2/3 innings and threw 112 pitches in Game 1 of the Division Series. It was just Hammel’s third start since mid-July after missing eight week recovering from arthroscopic surgery to remove lose bodies from his right knee.
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Buck Showalter announced Wednesday that Hammel would start a Game 5 despite some uncertainty as to who would start Game 4.
Hammel said his first major league start pitching with a new bulky knee brace in Game 1 went well.
“I felt great,” Hammel said. “The brace has been amazing. I just hope I don’t need it for the rest of my career. It feels bulky, but other than that it does what it’s supposed to. It’s gives me the support and I don’t have to think about it.”
Hammel called the opportunity to possibly start in a decisive Game 5 at Yankee Stadium “awesome.”
“It’s a huge honor,” Hammel said. “Like I said before the first game, I’ve kept myself in a position where I know I can still help the club. I didn’t give up. I didn’t sell out that the knee was going to be a problem. I’m not going to be 100 percent until the season’s over. I discussed that with the doctors. But I’ll be fine for next year which will be good, but I can still pitch. It’s very effective.
“It’s another opportunity for myself,” Hammel said, “but I don’t look at it as an individual thing. If we need Game 5, I’d love to take the ball. I’ll take the ball anytime.”