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October 6, 2012

Jason Hammel


Q.  Earlier this week that simulated game went well.  Talk about your bullpen sessions in between and where you're at right now with the knee.
JASON HAMMEL:  No concern with the knee.  First and foremost, I want to thank Buck for having the confidence in putting me back out there in such an important situation.
As for the sides, the simulated game obviously in Sarasota went well, but then I had another pen in Texas yesterday, and that was outstanding.  It was basically I was able to work on things instead of just get through it healthy, so I felt very strong.  So we're in a good place.

Q.  You haven't pitched in a game now for several weeks.  How do you think not pitching in a game and all of a sudden pitching in a postseason game is going to affect you?  Do you think that's a safe thing to do?
JASON HAMMEL:  Obviously, I'm very comfortable doing it.  I've done it before, pitched in a divisional game before with Colorado, so it's not new to me.  You know, I've been able to stay on top of my arm along with treating the knee, so I'm not worried about it at all.  I'm very confident in what I can do, and I'm sure the team is, too.
Like I said earlier, obviously a big thanks to the organization and Buck for putting me out there.  It's an honor and something I take very seriously.

Q.  When did you find out and how much lobbying did you have to do with Buck?
JASON HAMMEL:  I actually found out about ten minutes ago.  I think the lobbying was me getting back into shape.  I didn't really say much.  I wasn't trying to force a hand or anything.  Obviously I want to be a part of this.  The guys have done an outstanding job to get us to this point, and I've only pitched for half the season.  That shows a lot of dedication from a lot of guys to go ahead and me put out there.  Like you guys were saying, I haven't pitched in a long time, but I'm a professional, I take care of what I need to do to get ready, and so do the other guys in that clubhouse.  We're going to be ready to go.

Q.  Will you wear the knee brace again?
JASON HAMMEL:  Yeah.  I'm not right now, but yes, I will be wearing it.

Q.  You've been with this team even when you've been hurt and kind of seen the incredible things, last night as another example.  Will it be a matter of balancing the anxiousness of finally being out there with just approaching it like a regular outing?
JASON HAMMEL:  You know, the way I'm just going to look at it is it's just another game, Game 164 now.  Obviously there's a little more weighing on it, but I've done this long enough to where I know what I need to do to get ready and be in the moment and not letting too many things get to me.  I did a lot of work last year trying to get myself in the right spot, and I took it with me into obviously the beginning of the season and then injuries happened.  But that's something I won't lose.  I'll be ready to go.  Whatever you guys want to throw at me, it's not going to be affecting me.  It's another game to me.

Q.  You mentioned you'll be wearing the brace.  How easy was it for you to get comfortable with it, and are there any kind of restrictions at all?
JASON HAMMEL:  It's not very restrictive at all.  It's basically the same brace I was wearing earlier in the year when I had the fluid with the steel bars on the side of it, I guess, just a little more support than just the Neoprene sleeve.  It's a little bit bulky.  I do look like a quarterback when I wear it.  It's taking up all my pants.  But other than that, I don't really know it's there.

Q.  Your season has kind of been one of two different halves here, the start you had here in the first half and then obviously dealing with the injuries in the second half.  How much do you think you're going to have to try to build on maybe that first half and kind of‑‑ or do you look at both and build on both of those?
JASON HAMMEL:  Honestly I'm just looking at tomorrow.  That's one game.  Obviously I did some things well earlier this year and then the injuries happened.  Can't do anything about it.  Can't control that.  I know that there was a lot of effort from a lot of other guys to get us to this point, and I take that very seriously.  This isn't just an opportunity to show me; this is the Orioles.  This is a big story.  This is a big opportunity for a lot of guys.  I'm not focusing on what I've done or what I need to do, it's more or less go out there and just continue to do what we as a group as the Orioles have been doing all year.

Q.  The night you reinjured your knee, I remember how despondent you were and you were saying it felt exactly like the first time.  Mentally did you think that you'd be here right now?
JASON HAMMEL:  Honestly, no.  At that point I was very disappointed with the way it felt.  I mean, like you said, it was exactly the same feeling.  We were a lot slower moving it along this time, very careful with it, and I did feel pretty good about a week ago, and I was actually told before, when it feels good, give it another week because it may feel fully healed but it's not.  We did that this time.  We've taken it much slower, a lot more quality reps instead much just doing it just to get back out there.  I'm very confident that the knee will not be an issue.

Q.  You mentioned how grateful you are for the opportunity.  Buck gave Saunders a great opportunity last night.  Could you talk about the confidence all throughout the clubhouse when Buck does these things and puts you guys in great positions and says, look, I have confidence in you?
JASON HAMMEL:  Well, the guy with 1,000 wins as a manager probably knows what buttons to push.  He's pushed a lot of good ones this year.  Everybody in this clubhouse really does appreciate the opportunity that we have, and we're pulling for each other.  He's not going to put us in a situation where he thinks we're going to fail, so he's going to put us in a situation where he thinks we can succeed and come out and do a job to the best of our ability.
I honestly believe if he didn't think we could do it, he wouldn't put us there.

Q.  Your thoughts on the Yankee lineup, any part of it you worry about more than another or how do you approach attacking that lineup?
JASON HAMMEL:  It's just going to be the same approach all year.  Obviously it's the Yankees, they put out a very stellar lineup every year.  It's power top to the bottom, and we go about our game plan just like any other team.  We'll have our guys that we won't get beat by, and it's more about just making quality pitches.  I'm not worried about any certain guy's history.  It doesn't matter to me.  This is the one game that we're playing for right now, and it's obviously a great challenge for me and the rest of the guys, but I think we're up to it.

Q.  I'm just curious, obviously you're ready to go or you wouldn't be getting the baseball, but you haven't been in a game in some time.  Is there any type of pitch limit that you might be on, or are you in there until it's time to go to the bullpen?
JASON HAMMEL:  I'm pretty sure I'm not put on a limit.  I wasn't told anything about that.  You'd have to go to Buck about that.  But my last two sessions have been 75 pitches, I threw 80 before that, and then just yesterday I threw probably 45, 50 at full capacity.  I wasn't holding back.  I'm not going to go out there tentative.  If you're expecting me to just try and feel my way through it, that's not going to happen.  I feel good.  I'm ready to go.

Q.  You talked about being a different pitcher now than you were in Colorado but you also alluded to having the one postseason start.  Obviously it didn't go statistically as you would have liked.  What did you learn from that, if anything.
JASON HAMMEL:  Basically just‑‑ I got the first one out of the way is really the way I look at it.  Honestly in that game I didn't pitch too bad.  If you go back and watch the game, it was a couple bloops that fell in and stuff like that, I walked a couple guys, but it was a learning experience.  Obviously you've got to learn how to control the nerves.  I've done really well with that here.  Obviously playing in Yankee Stadium is no different than Fenway.  You're going to deal with those things.  Being able to already do those things this year multiple times I think kind of prepped me for it.

Q.  You guys from day one of Spring Training, everyone said you were going to finish last.  Throughout the year you've faced certain challenges, and it's always been kind of an uphill battle.  Yankees will be favored in this series, oddsmakers have them being the World Series representative from the American League.  How much do you guys either talk about that or feed on it or enjoy being in a position like this?
JASON HAMMEL:  It really means nothing to us.  It's a bunch of people telling us that we couldn't do anything, so obviously we were supposed to finish last; that didn't happen.  We weren't supposed to get to the playoffs; that didn't happen.  It's something that we don't really look at.  We're just going out, playing baseball, having fun, pulling for each other, getting contributions from every facet of the game.  It's basically come to expectation for us.  Somebody is going to get it done, and every night it's somebody different.
Honestly, it really doesn't matter.  Obviously people are going to‑‑ the naysayers will say what they want, but we're very confident in ourselves, and that's all that matters.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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