Jason Hammel makes early exit after aggravating his surgically-repaired right knee

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Orioles starter Jason Hammel looked sharp and healthy in his return from right knee surgery last week, holding the Yankees to one run over five innings in a 10-6 Baltimore victory. But the right-hander may suddenly be back to square one.

Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that Hammel was diagnosed with an aggravation of his right knee after landing awkwardly while delivering a pitch in the fourth inning tonight against the Rays.

The 30-year-old was able to walk off the field under his own power when he made his early exit, but his knee clearly buckled on the pitch and the safe assumption is that he’ll need significant time off.

Hammel allowed one run in 3 2/3 innings before departing and now has a 3.43 ERA in 118 total innings this season. The Orioles entered play Tuesday with a one-game lead over the Rays in the AL Wild Card hunt.

Cubs acquire Martín Maldonado from the Royals

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Last night Cubs catcher Willson Contreras was placed on the injured list with a strained muscle in his right foot. That injury inspired the Cubs to go out and get another catcher. They acquired Martín Maldonado in a trade with Kansas City in exchange for lefty Mike Montgomery, in a deal that was announced after the Cubs loss to the Reds.

Maldonado, 32, was a Gold Glove winner in 2017 with the Angels. At the moment he’s hitting .227 with six homers and 17 RBIs in 74 games. Obviously, though, defense is his calling card, as he’s a .220 career hitter with 57 homers and 210 RBIs in 686 games.

Montgomery, 30, is 1-2 with a 5.67 ERA in 20 relief appearances for the Cubs this year. He’s heading back to where his pro career began. He was drafted by Kanas City in 2008, though he was traded away in the James Shields/Wade David/Wil Myers deal in 2012. He made his big league debut for Seattle in 2015. Dayton Moore said last night that the Royals plan to use Montgomery in the rotation as a replacement for Homer Bailey, who was dealt to Oakland on Sunday.