Hammel could return to start an ALDS game

Hammel could return to start an ALDS game

ST. PETERSBURG -- Orioles right-hander Jason Hammel threw a five-inning simulated game Monday afternoon with no problems in regards to his right knee, and the 30-year-old is a candidate to start a postseason game for the club later this week.

"I'll commit to that," Showalter said of Hammel's availability later in the week. "That was real encouraging. [We will] see how he feels tomorrow. [The] next step is if he comes through that tomorrow, no real limitations on his next step."

Hammel threw 73 pitches, with pitching coach Rick Adair in attendance, at the club's spring facility in Sarasota, Fla., and he wouldn't be eligible to start until at least Saturday. Still, the news is good for the Orioles given the club's uncertain rotation and the fact that Hammel -- who went 8-6 with a 3.43 ERA -- was their best starter despite battling right knee discomfort.

"Rick put the gun on him the last couple days ... went well," Showalter said. "Rick is hard to impress, he was impressed with his stuff, his arm stuff and everything. About as good as could be expected. It was smoking out. Got a little tired at the end, but it's been a while."

The Orioles clinched a postseason spot Sunday night and entered Monday tied for the American League East lead with the Yankees.