UPDATE: As expected, Hammel is officially back from the DL and will face New York tonight.
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.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports Thursday that the Orioles “are said to have begun fielding calls of interest” on superstar Manny Machado and “are close to the point of seriously weighing whether to trade him.”
You’d think it would be a no-brainer for the last-place O’s to flip Machado — an impending free agent — for prospects, but Heyman notes there is “still a question whether or not longtime Orioles owner Peter Angelos” will give the go-ahead. One person familiar with the situation put it a “50-50” likelihood. Another suggested that it would take a massive return, which, sure.
Machado entered play Thursday with a sensational .328/.405/.635 batting line, 15 home runs, and an MLB-leading 43 RBI in 49 games. It’d be a real shock if he’s still wearing an O’s uniform by the end of July.
Heyman reported previously that at least nine teams made aggressive plays for Machado this winter, including the Cubs, Phillies, Dodgers, Indians, Diamondbacks, Yankees, Red Sox, White Sox, and Cardinals. A whole lot of those teams still make sense here in late May — maybe all of them except the White Sox.