Jason Hammel is confident he can make a start on Monday or Tuesday

If the Orioles are thinking about putting pitcher Jason Hammel on the disabled list as a way to open a roster spot for tonight's starter Dana Eveland, it sounds like Hammel doesn't think that move would be necessary.

Hammel did not make his scheduled start last night because of a sore right knee, but said today he is optimistic that he can start either Monday or Tuesday against New York.

"Definitely. I am. Unfortunately it's not always up to me, but I feel pretty good about it. I got some of the fluid out, and the swelling has gone down significantly. We'll see if we can get on the mound tomorrow (for a bullpen session) and go from there.

"Two days ago I threw. Just a little flat-ground. That was when I was deemed unable to go yesterday. It feels pretty good today," Hammel said.

Hammel is off to a great start for his new team, going 4-1 with an ERA of 2.09 over his first six Orioles starts. His ERA ranks as the current fifth-best in the American League.

But that right knee has been bothering him for a while now.

"Three starts ago, right after my second start against Toronto (on April 25). Just walking around, it felt a little tight and some fluid started building up," Hammel said. "After each start, the day after, it got worse and worse. It's not completely gone now, but we've made good improvements the last couple of days."

Does he have a concern that this issue could linger through the year and that he'll have to get continued treatment on that knee?

"I hope not, that is why they pushed me back. So we could get me clear and over this hurdle. I didn't want to go out and make it worse to where it would be a DL stint or a month and a half that I would have to deal with it. I think we made the right decision so it won't stay with me."

But Hammel does admit while the knee is improved, he can still feel some soreness there even in day-to-day activities.

"At certain points, yeah. Stairs are not fun, but it's getting a lot better. There is no sharp pain or anything. It is just some restricted movement," he said.

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