Hammel confident he can return to O's in early September

Pitcher Jason Hammel was back in the Orioles clubhouse on Saturday for the first time after his right knee surgery. While he is in the early stages of a process he hopes leads him back to the team by early September, yesterday he was just excited to be among his teammates once again.

"A lot of new faces, but I've already talked to all of them," he said. "This feels like the first day of school where you come back to see your buddies you haven't seen all summer long. I've missed the guys and it's good to be back."

Hammel has not started since July 13 and he is 8-6 with an ERA of 3.54. Now he hopes to stay with the team and continue his rehab while with the club.

"I hope so, but that's not really up to me. It's up to management," Hammel said. "I think that would be an ideal situation because then I could work with Rick (Adair, O's pitching coach) on mechanics and things like that. But it doesn't matter to me, I'm just happy to be doing baseball stuff again.

hammel throwing black nats 2 sidebar .jpg"Up to this point, it feels good. I never had to teach myself to kind of have to control how I throw like that before. But now it's good to be able to drive off that leg again. It's coming along. Range of motion isn't quite yet fully there and also just dealing with some strengthening."

Hammel was asked if it is certain that he will need to pitch some in the minors in injury-rehab games on his way back to the O's active roster.

"Honestly, I don't know. Haven't really extended the knee that much," he said. "My arm doesn't really need that much to build back up. I have been throwing already, so it's not like it will be a shock to the system to start throwing again. We're in pretty good shape there.

"I think I should be pitching here in September."

And he means in early September. That is his goal and Hammel said Saturday he is confident that he will reach that goal.

"Very. Very (confident)," he said. "If you would have asked me that Monday, I would have been a little scared to say that because it was moving too slow for me. But then the last three days, I've made great strides."

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