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.

ALCS Game 4 postponed

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As expected, a weather system that is supposed to pour rain on New York this evening has caused the league to postpone Game 4 of the ALCS.

The game will now be played tomorrow, with Game 5 moving to Friday, which was supposed to be a travel day. There will be no travel day now, with Games 6 and 7, if necessary, taking place in Houston on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

The postponement helps the Yankees some in the short term in that it gives their bullpen some rest and could allow them to go from a scheduled bullpen game, which is what they were going to use tonight, to giving Masahiro Tanaka the Game 4 start tomorrow. In the longer run, though, it works to the Astros’ advantage in that it allows them to skip their fourth starter (whoever that would be) or toss one of their big three on short rest and go with Zach Greinke and Justin Verlander over the next two games. Moreover, if the Yankees do manage to push this series to six or seven games — which they’ll have to now in order to win it — there will be four straight days worth of games, meaning no rest for that pen over the final four games.

Oh, and since the Nats swept the Cardinals, that means there’s no baseball tonight. Enjoy catching up on whatever it is you have on your DVR.