Even though right-hander
Instead, Showalter had lumped Hammel with the rest of his young starters – as promising arms still learning how to establish themselves.
In fact, the Orioles weren’t quite sure what they were getting in Hammel, who came to Baltimore with an ERA just south of 5.00. He was the odd man out on a young, talented
But the Orioles did see something in how Hammel changed his approach once he was sent to the bullpen last year. He worked out some mechanical flaws. He focused more on his fastball command and used his slider off that. Mentally, he became a more grounded pitcher.
"I look at it as a 29-year-old guy who had his struggles and was traded, and started to figure out who he was, especially toward the end of last year,” Showalter said. “Talking to [Rockies manager]
"I don't look at him like the leader of some young guys. I don't want to put that on him. They band together, they talk about it. But it's a competitive thing. Every fifth day, they've got to be ready to give us a chance to win. Simple as that. It's not near the brain surgery that everybody makes it out to be. Keep us in the game. That's easier said than done."
Throw in a two-seam sinking fastball that Hammel honed this spring with Orioles pitching coach Rick Adair and Hammel suddenly has a nice arsenal. To Adair, the lean, 6-foot-6 Hammel was very similar to
And Hammel was throwing all four of his pitches for strikes Sunday afternoon as he took a no-hitter into the eighth inning of the Orioles' 3-1 win over the
"Experience is on my side now," Hammel said. "[Coming up with the Rays], I was a young pup, just coming out and throwing and seeing what I can do. Now, I've learned a few things, learned some names and figured myself out as a pitcher. I think we're really on the tip of the iceberg. I feel like I can get even better.