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.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.
Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.
As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.