Jason Hammel still hopeful for an early September return

After getting on the mound in a simulated game yesterday, Orioles pitcher Jason Hammel remains very encouraged by his rehab from right knee surgery. He still hopes to be back with the club possibly as soon as early next month.

“I still think the first week (of September, I can return), I’m hoping,” he said. “I would hope maybe one more sim game and then a rehab start, then I would hope to be good to go by then. That is what I have for my plan, but I mean we’re not rushing it. The guys are playing well and if it takes a little longer, we’ve got the personnel here to get us through.

“My arm feels good. Everything feels good. I’m very excited. Obviously, the first time out there against hitters yesterday was, I’m not going to say awkward, but different. Haven’t been in there for a month, so I think that’s expected.”

jason-hammel-throwing-gray-sidebar.jpgThe Orioles announced earlier today that Hammel will throw a four- to five-inning simulated game Monday. If all goes well, he will make a rehab start on Saturday at an affiliate to be determined.

Hammel said he came through yesterday’s outing just fine.

“It feels good today. Not even any soreness. That’s a good step,” he said. “I’ll probably do some sprinting in the pool today and run on the treadmill.”

Hammel has tested his knee a few times with pitcher’s fielding practice and said that has gone well also.

“I feel great about the PFP work,” he said. “The first day I felt like I had stone blocks on my feet. But that was also running on the Bermuda grass in Texas and my cleats just stuck in there. It felt weird, but then I did it again the following day and felt much better. It was night and day.”

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