Hammel not pleased with his outing today in Clearwater (O's lose 5-3)

CLEARWATER, Fla. - After throwing 60 pitches in his last outing, which was a simulated game at camp, Jason Hammel gave up four runs today as he bumped his pitch count up to 77 against the Phillies.

He went 4 2/3 innings, allowing six hits and four runs, with one walk and three strikeouts. He gave up a two-run homer on a change-up to Freddy Galvis in the last of the fifth and left the game after recording one more out.

Hammel was happy with his two-seam fastball today, but definitely not happy with his secondary pitches.

"Out of all my outings, this one was the worst," he said. "I'm not too happy with it honestly. But it's one of those days where you don't have the feel. It's something where I can get on the side this week and get back to work.

"Definitely getting stronger, but not as sharp as I wanted to be today. Curveball was lazy, both breaking balls were a little bad. Threw some good change-ups early. Definitely not as sharp as I've been, but I'll chalk it down as a work day."

Hammel was sharp early, shutting out the Phils through the first two innings on 23 pitches, 17 for strikes. He said his fastball command was solid at that point.

"That was actually one of the first few times I worked with Tea (Taylor Teagarden) back there. Like the way he called it," Hammel said. "Mixed it up with the four- and two-seam, but again, just not as sharp as I've been, but happy I'm getting deeper and deeper (into games)."

Hammel said his surgically repaired right knee is no longer an issue at all.

"That's not even a thought," he said. "I put too much work in this offseason for it to come back and bother me, knock on wood. It feels strong, actually feels stronger than my arm."

Hammel has increased his innings each start from two to 2 1/3 to four to today's 4 2/3 for a total of 13 innings. He feels on pace to make the opening day start if he gets that honor, or at least one of the first few games for sure.

"Yeah, I've still got at least a couple more starts," he said. "Obviously today, make sure you are not too complacent, things can happen. But definitely happy with how the body feels, that is first and foremost, being healthy and the other things will come."

As for this game, the parade of subs has begun and the Phillies lead the Orioles 5-1 in the eighth. In the seventh, Steel Russell, an O's minor leaguer, lined out to short as a pinch hitter. The son was batting as his dad, O's bench coach and acting manager in Clearwater, John Russell, looked on.

Update: The Orioles scored twice in the ninth, but suffered a 5-3 loss to the Phillies.

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