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OAKLAND – Jason Hammel is back with the A’s following the birth of his daughter, Colby, and he’ll return to the rotation for Thursday’s opener of a regular season-ending series at Texas.
Hammel left after last Thursday’s game against the Rangers at the Coliseum – he threw three innings of shutout relief that day to stay sharp before leaving. He took a red-eye flight to Boston and landed at about 7:30 a.m. Friday morning, getting to the hospital in plenty of time to be with his wife, Elissa, for the birth of their second child. Hammel returned to the team Monday after taking a red-eye flight back Sunday night.
He’ll slip back into his regular rotation spot after Drew Pomeranz made a spot start in his place Saturday, although manager Bob Melvin said events before Thursday could shake things up.
“If I had to use Hammel in an extra-inning situation today potentially …” Melvin said before Monday’s game. “I mean, I do have a lot of pitchers. As it sets up right now, he’s gonna pitch (Thursday). But again, we’ll do whatever we have to do on a particular day to win a game.”
Should Hammel be pressed into relief duty, Pomeranz could start in his place against the Rangers.
But barring anything crazy, Hammel will take the ball in the opener of a four-game series in Arlington that will have huge implications on whether Oakland gets a wild card playoff berth. Hammel has turned things around drastically after struggling through his first seven starts following a July 5 trade from the Cubs.
Over his past four starts, Hammel has posted a 2.36 ERA with 24 strikeouts and four walks in 26 2/3 innings.
As things stand, Oakland’s rotation for the four-game Texas series will go Hammel-Scott Kazmir-Jeff Samardzija-Sonny Gray.
Hammel kept up on his teammates while he was back east and was happy to see them take two of three from Philadelphia over the weekend.
“There’s still a lot of fight left in this team,” he said.