Maybe it was just me, but I’ve been quietly waiting on word of Jason Hammel’s MRI with bated breath for the past 24 hours. He’s been such an important part of the Cubs’ rotation this year, and, given the lack of quality depth right now, losing him for any period of time could be a nightmare.
So, today’s just-revealed reports made me very happy:
MRI reveals no damage to Hammel and no DL stint will be needed. He'll be slotted as 5th guy in the rotation coming out of the break.
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) July 10, 2015
#Cubs encouraged by Jason Hammel's MRI and don't expect hamstring issue to be a DL situation.
— Patrick Mooney (@CSNMooney) July 10, 2015
Good news re #Cubs Hammel — the MRI did not show damage and he is not expected to miss a start
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) July 10, 2015
MRI on Hammel was good, expected to make next start after ASG break
— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) July 10, 2015
MRI on Hammel showed no structural issues or strain. For now club looking at starting him back end of rotation out of break.
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) July 10, 2015
Whew. Here’s hoping all proceeds according to plan.
Two things to keep in mind:
(1) While I am not going to say teams will flat-out lie about injuries at this time of year, I do think it’s important for us to keep in mind that there’s a strong incentive for teams not to disclose too much about an injury right now. The Cubs are known to be interested in acquiring a starting pitcher already, and if teams believed that Hammel’s injury were more serious – and, imagine that it was – they’d likely be able to extract a more significant price in trade.
In other words, you have to take the description here with a grain of salt, even if you completely understand why the Cubs might be more protective of their information right now.
All that said, I’m still feeling pretty good about this news because …
(2) As we discussed before, the timing of Hammel’s injury is such that he can miss a couple weeks without actually missing too many starts (just one, by my count). Even if Hammel would have been ready to take his first turn through the rotation after the All-Star break, then, the Cubs could have put Hammel on the DL now so that they could bring up an extra player while simultaneously giving Hammel a little extra rest. If the Cubs aren’t even considering a DL stint right now, then that means they see Hammel as very likely to take that first start after the break – otherwise, they’d DL him and get the benefit of an extra player for 10+ games and all they’d be losing is a single Hammel start.
Obviously we’ll wait for full relief when Hammel is actually on the mound, pitching for many innings pain-free – because, after all, he did get injured – but today’s news is as good as it could get.