Jason Hammel undergoing surgery on right knee, out at least four weeks

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The Orioles celebrated a walkoff victory over the Tigers on Saturday, but they’re struggling to cling to an American League Wild Card spot and could be without one of their best starters for a while.

Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun writes that Jason Hammel has cartilage “floating” in his right knee that gives him pain whenever he tries a bending motion. He’ll need surgery to fully relieve it, and the rehab for such a procedure takes at least seven weeks.

Hammel will sleep on it, weighing whether to try and pitch through the discomfort. He’s going to be placed on the 15-day disabled list before the Orioles close out their three-game set Sunday against the Tigers.

25-year-old left-hander Brian Matusz will likely get another crack at the starting rotation no matter what Hammel decides to do. He has a 5.42 ERA, 1.71 WHIP and 62/38 K/BB ratio in 84 2/3 innings this season.

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SUNDAY, 11:31 AM: Connolly reports that Hammel is indeed having the surgery, but it’s of the arthroscopic variety and he might miss only four weeks. Still, it’s certainly a tough blow to the fading O’s.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.