Jason Hammel goes five scoreless in rehab start

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The Orioles currently have a claim on one of the two Wild Card spots in the American League. And their active 25-man roster is about to get a nice boost.

According to beat writer Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, right-handed starter Jason Hammel threw five scoreless innings Saturday in his rehab debut with High-A Fredrick. He struck out seven batters, issued just one walk, and reported no abnormal pain or discomfort during or after the outing.

Hammel seems likely to rejoin the Baltimore rotation next week.

The 29-year-old had a 3.54 ERA, a 1.24 WHIP and a 106/39 K/BB ratio in 109 1/3 innings before hitting the disabled list in mid-July with a right knee injury that eventually required surgery.

The Angels were the first team to use up all of their mound visits

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Last night’s Angels-Astros game was a long affair with a bunch of homers and the use of 11 pitchers in all. The Angels used six pitchers and all of that business led to plenty of conferences. Six, in fact, which is their allotment under the new rule capping mound visits. As far as I can tell, that makes the Angels the first team to use up all of their mound visits since the advent of the rule.

Sadly, they did not try to go for a seventh, thereby testing the currently unknown limits of the rule. Umpires have been instructed to not allow additional mound visits, but they cannot issue balls or tackle anyone or anything to enforce it. Presumably, if Maldonado had walked out to talk to Cam Bedrosian about the weather or where he was going to dinner after the game, the home plate umpire would’ve simply done the old Robin Williams English policeman’s bit of yelling “Stop! . . . or I shall yell ‘Stop!’ again!” Maybe a fine would issue later, but we’ll never know.

At least until someone breaks the limit. And we know someone will, right? We should have a betting pool on who does it.