Jason Hammel on track to make rehab start Saturday

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Jason Hammel required arthroscopic surgery last month to removed a piece of loose cartilage from his right knee, but he’s inching closer to rejoining the Orioles’ rotation.

According to Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com, Hammel threw 58 pitches earlier today in his second simulated game. He’s currently on track to make a minor league rehab start on Saturday, likely with High-A Frederick. If all goes well, he could rejoin the Orioles’ rotation on September 6 against the Yankees, though he would likely be limited to around six innings in his first start back.

Hammel was enjoying his best season in the big leagues prior to the surgery, compiling a 3.54 ERA and 106/39 K/BB ratio over 109 1/3 innings in 18 starts.

Jim Hickey steps down as Cubs’ pitching coach

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The Cubs announced on Tuesday that Jim Hickey has stepped down as the pitching coach due to personal reasons. The club will begin a search for a replacement.

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said in a statement, “Jim Hickey notified us yesterday of his decision to step down as pitching coach and leave the organization for personal reasons. We thank Jim for his season with the Cubs and his positive impact on our pitchers. Jim has our full support and we all wish him well.”

Hickey, 57, spent over a decade as a coach in the Rays organization before joining the Cubs for the past season, reuniting with Joe Maddon. The Cubs’ starting staff ranked 10th among all 30 teams with a 3.84 ERA and the bullpen posted an NL-best 3.35 ERA.