Orioles' Hammel could undergo knee surgery
Orioles right-hander Jason Hammel is considering surgery on his ailing right knee, a procedure that could sideline him for six weeks.
Hammel left Friday night's game against Detroit in the fourth inning after hurting his knee while throwing a pitch. He has been experiencing problems with the same knee since early May, and has been given extra time between starts to adjust for the pain.
That might not be good enough anymore.
''Honestly, I just want my knee to feel normal again,'' Hammel said Saturday. ''So I'm kind of leaning toward surgery, but I haven't made that decision yet.''
Hammel had an MRI on Saturday to determine the extent of the injury. The results were a mixture of good and bad.
''The MRI found there was no further damage to what I've been dealing with for the last couple months, which was good. That's a positive,'' Hammel said. ''The only problem is the cartilage that was floating around in there is in a bad place right now, So we are going to consider our options. See what we have. Surgery is an option. Could let it rest too. I will probably know more (Sunday),''
Obtained during an offseason trade with Colorado, Hammel had an 8-2 record before losing his past four starts. He leads Baltimore in wins and strikeouts (106) and has a 3.54 ERA in 18 starts.
The disabled list could be his next destination, because the Orioles are short of pitchers following Saturday's 13-inning win over Detroit.
''We'll probably make a decision (Sunday), especially if we have to bring up an arm,'' manager Buck Showalter said.
Hammel would hate to bow out during Baltimore's surprisingly successful season, but he's tired of fighting the pain in his troublesome knee.
''It's a pretty simple procedure to go in there and just let it be scoped, but like I said, I could let it rest,'' he said. ''And it could be fine that way. But it would be better just to get it taken care of.''
At worst, Hammel will miss his next scheduled start. If he goes on the DL, that would mean four pitchers in Baltimore's five-man rotation on opening day will be missing from the current list. Brian Matusz, Tommy Hunter and Jake Arrieta have all been demoted to the minors.