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.

Pirates pitcher Steven Brault sang the National Anthem last night

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Pittsburgh Pirates swingman Steven Brault has a 4.38 ERA in 19 games this year. He also has a music degree and is a professional singer on the side of his baseball gig. He didn’t get into last night’s game against the Brewers as a pitcher, but he did get to use his singing skills.

Specifically, Brault got to sing the National Anthem. And he did an OK job of it too. He’s not Whitney Houston or anything, but he did what all Anthem singers who are not as gifted as Whitney Houston was should do: he kept it straight and businesslike, avoiding unnecessary flourishes:

It’s march, dang it, not a ballad, and it should be treated as such. Unless of course you’re Whitney Houston.