It's never a pleasant experience for major league ballplayers when one of their struggling teammates gets sent to the minors.
In close clubhouses, most of these guys are friends, or friendly anyway. And, frankly, many of them have been through the same situations.
It's possible no one in an
Arrieta, 27, was sent to Triple-A Norfolk on Monday after posting a 6.63 ERA in four starts. He has tremendous ability, but has not been able to throw strikes consistently at the major league level.
Hammel has been there.
"I know exactly how he feels," said Hammel, who was the Orioles' Opening Day starter this year at age 30. "Honestly, he reminds me a lot of myself. It was three or four years of impressive stuff and inconsistent results. And it was frustrating."
Hammel made his debut with the
The Rays traded him to the
"For me, it was well-documented now that it was just a different focus for me when I was on the mound," Hammel said.
While in Colorado in 2011, Hammel found help from then-Rockies bullpen coach Jim Wright, who worked with Hammel to block out all disruptions and just pitch. He had him throw side sessions to a glove propped up on sandbags. All Hammel had to do was hit the target.
That exercise, he believes, allowed him to have tunnel vision for a catcher's mitt.
Things have clicked for Hammel. And he thinks things will click for Arrieta, who has had problems shaking off adversity within a game.
"It's not physical with him," Hammel said. "It's just a matter of finding a way for him to repeat things and, when he gets into trouble, to kind of step back and find something he can go to that he can get himself back to Step 1 again."
It took Hammel 10 years of professional ball, and parts of seven seasons in the majors, before he was getting consistent results. And he believes Arrieta is too good and works too hard not to achieve the same.