Jason Hammel returns from disabled list to face Yankees

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UPDATE: As expected, Hammel is officially back from the DL and will face New York tonight.

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Baltimore’s rotation will get a boost Thursday when Jason Hammel comes off the disabled list to face the Yankees.

Hammel has been out since mid-July with a knee injury that required surgery, but before being shut down he was the Orioles’ best starter with a 3.54 ERA and 106/39 K/BB ratio in 109 innings.

Hammel convinced the Orioles that he’s ready to return by tossing five scoreless innings Saturday at Single-A and manager Buck Showalter signed off on putting him back into the rotation following a bullpen session yesterday.

Reds ink Oliver Perez to a minor-league deal

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The Reds have signed free agent reliever Oliver Perez to a minor-league contract, the team announced Saturday. The deal comes with a major-league invite and could be worth $1.25 million if Perez secures a roster spot this spring, with an additional $500,000 in potential performance bonuses.

Perez, 36, is coming off of a two-year run with the Nationals. He produced a 4.64 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 an d10.6 SO/9 through 50 relief appearances and 33 innings with the club in 2017. The veteran lefty hasn’t kept an ERA under 4.00 in at least four seasons, but he continues to be undeniably solid against left-handed batters, holding them to a .227/.301/.364 batting line over 18 1/3 innings last year.

While returning southpaw Wandy Peralta appears to have locked down a bullpen spot already, Perez will still compete for another role against fellow left-handers Cody Reed and Amir Garrett, both of whom also have experience in the rotation. If Perez doesn’t break camp with the team, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon notes, he’ll be permitted to opt out of his contract. The Reds are currently looking to bounce back from a dismal performance in 2017, one in which their bullpen ranked 28th among major league teams with a collective 5.63 ERA and -1.2 fWAR.