BALTIMORE -- Right-hander Jason Hammel reported to the Orioles clubhouse on Saturday following six scoreless innings in Friday's start against the Royals with minimum discomfort in his right knee, a nagging issue which has progressively gotten better.
"Each time out he's had less residual than the time before," manager Buck Showalter said of Hammel, who had his start skipped earlier this month, but has managed to avoid the disabled list. "So far, so good. He said he's just a little sore."
Hammel had his right knee drained earlier in the week and posted his longest outing in nearly three weeks, holding the Royals in check with seven strikeouts.
"I was aware of the knee, in the fifth inning was when it started," he said following the Orioles' 8-2 win. "I knew it was there, maybe a little bothersome. But then I got through the sixth with the same feeling. So it didn't get any worse. So huge, huge step there. So in between this start and the next one we'll continue to build strength, and hopefully we got over a nice hurdle."
Hammel, who said previously that he felt as if he were pitching "on one leg" at times, has been able to incorporate elliptical training into his between-starts regime and he felt the cardio helped his stamina Friday night. He has also been doing pool work in place of running to help keep the weight off of his knee.
"The body can deteriorate after a while if you're not doing anything to maintain stamina and endurance," said Hammel, who is 6-1 with a 2.78 ERA in nine starts. "Just being able to do something I think really helped and we are going to stick with it."