Orioles’ Jason Hammel set for knee surgery

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Jason Hammel, who has lost four straight starts trying to pitch with a sore right knee, will undergo surgery and miss at least three weeks, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports.

Hammel has loose cartilage floating around in the knee that he needs taken out.

“Where it was before it was kind of uncomfortable,” Hammel said. “Now it is kind of in the joint, kind of pinned into the joint, so every time I bend the knee it pretty much hits the nerve in the area, so it’s not very comfortable right now.”

Hammel nearly made the AL All-Star team after opening the season 8-2 with a 2.61 ERA, but he’s given up 17 runs in 19 2/3 innings in his last four outings, all of them losses.

The Orioles haven’t announced who will replace him in the rotation, but Tommy Hunter appears to be the likely choice. Even though Brian Matusz pitched a shutout in his first start after being sent down to Triple-A Norfolk, manager Buck Showalter isn’t keen on the idea of bringing him back so quickly.

Report: Brewers have made formal contract offer to Yu Darvish

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Yahoo Japan reported on Sunday (Monday there) that the Brewers have made a formal contract offer to free agent pitcher Yu Darvish. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic has confirmed Yahoo Japan’s report. The length of the offered contract and the value are not known at the moment.

Darvish recently said on his personal Twitter account that the Rangers, Yankees, Cubs, Astros, Twins, and “one more team” have been in the running for his services. The unnamed team was believed to be the Dodgers, but it may well be the Brewers.

The Brewers could certainly use Darvish’s arm. Chase Anderson and Zach Davies currently lead the starting rotation and the club added Jhoulys Chacin and Yovani Gallardo this offseason.

Darvish, 31, posted a 3.86 ERA with a 209/58 K/BB ratio in 186 2/3 innings between the Rangers and Dodgers in the regular season last year. He faltered in the playoffs, specifically in the World Series, where he gave up nine runs in 3 1/3 innings across two starts. Darvish was apparently tipping his pitches, however, which is a correctable issue.