At times during his battle with soreness in his right knee, Hammel struggled to even walk without pain. Those issues eventually led to surgery and a stint on the disabled list that began July 15.
So when Hammel woke up on Sunday and got out of bed without even thinking about pain, much less feeling any, it was a major positive -- one that makes the Orioles comfortable enough to have him throw off a mound on Monday.
"No swelling or anything, so that's definitely a good sign," Hammel said before Sunday's game against the Royals. " I feel like we're making progress."
"Tomorrow we'll get up on the mound and see how it goes."
Manager Buck Showalter said the next step was to have Hammel come in and throw around 11 a.m. ET on Monday, with the next move to be determined from there.
The key in Monday's session will be Hammel's ability to use his right, push leg to full capacity.
"Just the tentativeness of me to push with the back side, because that's where the pain was," Hammel said. "Just getting through that, obviously. And yesterday there was no hesitance at all, so I feel good."