Jason Hammel to miss at least one start with right knee injury

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UPDATE: The MRI results aren’t yet known, but Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that Hammel will miss at least one start. Orioles manager Buck Showalter will have more on his status after the game.

10:06 AM ET: Jason Hammel’s right knee has been an issue for most of the season, but he’s managed to pitch through it and remain effective. However, he could be headed for an extended absence after leaving last night’s start against the Tigers in the fourth inning.

According to Roch Kubakto of MASNSports.com, Hammel is scheduled to undergo an MRI today to get to the root of the problem.

“I was driving toward the plate and it didn’t feel good,” he said. “Something felt really bad. It’s the same area as the injury was before. It’s kind of just day-to-day. We scheduled an MRI for tomorrow and we’ll find out more, but as of right now, we don’t really know what’s going on here.

“It was something that just happened on that pitch. I mean, the normal things I’ve been dealing with since the actual original injury happened, it hasn’t changed. Nothing felt like a pop or anything like that.”

Losing Hammel for any length of time would obviously be a tough blow for the Orioles, who are currently tied with the Indians for the second Wild Card spot but have faded in recent weeks. The 29-year-old right-hander has emerged as the team’s best starter since being acquired from the Rockies in February, posting a 3.54 ERA and 106/39 K/BB ratio over 109 1/3 innings.

Dallas Keuchel is unlikely to return before the All-Star break

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Astros’ left-hander Dallas Keuchel might not return to the rotation before the All-Star break, Houston manager A.J. Hinch told reporters prior to Sunday’s game. The club placed their star southpaw on the 10-day disabled list on June 8, retroactive to June 5, after a nerve issue was revealed in his neck.

Keuchel has taken a conservative approach to his recovery over the last several weeks, and while he appears to have made some progress, still has yet to throw off the mound. The injury interrupted the start of an outstanding run with the Astros, during which the 29-year-old lefty furnished a 9-0 record with a 1.67 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 through his first 75 2/3 innings of 2017.

According to Hinch, it’s certainly possible that Keuchel could return to the team sometime within the next two weeks, but it’s clear that the team would prefer to play it extra safe with their ace. Even assuming that he feels ready to reclaim his spot on the Astros’ pitching staff, he still needs to complete a few key activities before competing in another game — like throwing off a mound, for example. In the meantime, Lance McCullers Jr. will continue to head Houston’s rotation as they try to build on their 12.5-game lead in the AL West.

 

Hinch’s full comments are below:

The Mets are promoting Tim Tebow to Single-A St. Lucie

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Mets GM Sandy Alderson told the media on Sunday that the organization is promoting outfielder Tim Tebow from Single-A Columbia to advanced Single-A St. Lucie, MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reports.

Tebow, 29, wasn’t hitting particularly well to merit the promotion. Across 241 plate appearances with Columbia, he hit .222/.311/.340 with three home runs and 22 RBI. He had just seven extra-base hits (all doubles) in his most recent 20 games. Alderson, however, defended the decision by citing Tebow’s exit velocity and other metrics.

I think we can all agree that the real reason is that promoting Tebow creates another opportunity for the Mets to sell merchandise with his name on it.

One has to feel for the outfielder Tebow will displace. St. Lucie’s regular outfielders have comparable stats to Tebow’s, so they aren’t exactly being replaced on merit. That outfielder will see less playing time, hurting his future prospects. Adding Tebow to St. Lucie’s roster will push someone off of the roster, which will also harm that player’s future prospects. And, remember, these players don’t make much money to begin with.