Cautious Hammel hopes to return down stretch

Cautious Hammel hopes to return down stretch

Cautious Hammel hopes to return down stretch

SAN FRANCISCO -- Starter Jason Hammel, who had a cortisone injection Friday, remains optimistic he will pitch for the Orioles again this season, and the plan is for him to rest for a few days and try to play catch at some point next week.

Hammel, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with tightness in his right flexor mass, said Saturday he won't push things given the nature of the injury, and he hopes to nip the issue in the bud and be a factor for the Orioles down the stretch.

"After speaking with the doctors and everything, not necessarily the writing is on the wall but it's right there, the forearm can be a precursor to ligament damage [in the elbow] and things like that," said Hammel, whose MRI showed no structural damage in the area. "It's not worth the risk, especially if it's something we can look at and handle now. Obviously I don't want to miss time, but it's better than missing a year [for Tommy John surgery]."

Hammel has been traveling with the team and he was still dealing with some discomfort when trying to throw earlier in the week, prompting another examination and the decision to try to calm down the area with the injection. The right-hander has been dealing with the injury since Spring Training and it primarily affected his slider.

"It's obviously disappointing but there are plenty of other options here right now that are throwing just as well, if not better, than I was," said Hammel, who is 7-8 with a 5.20 ERA in 21 starts. "So it was a tough decision, but it was the right one."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.