Jason Hammel turned in another steady season for the Cubs in 2016, taking the ball 30 times before an elbow injury ended his season in late September and kept him off the roster throughout the team's World Series run. Just days after winning Game 7 of the World Series, the Cubs front office declined an option on Hammel's contract for 2017, making him a free agent. At age 34, Hammel has never reached 180 innings in a big league season. Also of concern is that he struggled in a big way outside of Wrigley, as opposing hitters put together a .278/.344/.530 line against him on the road last season including 18 of the 25 home runs he allowed. For 2017, Hammel's value will hinge on the health of his arm, although his new home park of Kauffman Stadium doesn't play too well to the longball, which could help the righty put a dent in his career 1.1 HR/9.
Hammel (0-2) lasted just three innings, allowing three runs on four hits and three walks while striking out five Rangers in Sunday's loss. The right-hander delivered a terrible start at an inopportune time. With the Royals' bullpen already taxed from a 13-inning affair earlier in the series, Hammel delivered the shortest outing by any of their starters so far this season. Through four starts with his new team, the 34-year-old owns an unsightly 5.30 ERA and 1.77 WHIP with a career-worst 4.82 BB/9. Hammel will look to right the ship when he takes the hill for his next start Saturday versus Minnesota.
Hammel (0-1) allowed only one run on six hits and a walk while striking out three over six innings but came away with a no-decision in Tuesday's 2-1 extra-inning loss to the Giants. It's his first quality start of the season as Hammel has stumbled a bit out of the gates, posting a 4.60 ERA, 1.66 WHIP and 9:7 K:BB through his first 15.2 innings as a Royal. The veteran righty could have a tough time turning things around in his next start, though, as he'll face the Rangers in Arlington on Sunday.
Hammel (0-1) gave up four runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out four over 4.2 innings in Wednesday's 8-3 loss to the A's. The veteran righty has had an inauspicious beginning to 2017, allowing at least three runs in each of his two starts so far and posting a 6:6 K:BB in 9.2 innings. Hammel threw just 55 of 94 pitches for strikes Wednesday and put at least one baserunner aboard in every inning he pitched, which isn't exactly a formula for success. He'll look to right the ship Tuesday at home against the Giants.
Hammel gave up three runs on six hits and four walks while striking out two over five innings against the Twins on Thursday. He did not factor in the decision in the Royals' 5-3 loss. The control was lacking for Hammel in his Royals debut, with just 59 of his 95 pitches going for strikes, but his track record suggests better days are ahead. Last year, Hammel issued more than two walks just five times in 30 starts. The two strikeouts were also disappointing, but it wasn't a disastrous start by any means, and Hammel draws a more favorable matchup his next time out -- a home start against the A's.
Hammel said he lost the feel for his changeup in the fifth inning of Sunday's game against the Angels, Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star reports. Hammel has stressed that his goal entering spring training was to make his changeup an effective pitch. He seems encouraged by his progress with the offering, even if the results Sunday were less than stellar (seven runs on eight hits and two walks in six innings). The right-hander suggested he will alter his pitch mix and pitch differently during the regular season. Following one final spring tuneup, Hammel will start the Royals' third game of the regular season, April 6 at Minnesota.