Hammel won't make final start due to tight elbow

Cubs righty says move is precautionary so he is ready for postseason

Hammel won't make final start due to tight elbow

PITTSBURGH -- Cubs righty Jason Hammel was scratched from his final regular-season start, which was scheduled for Friday, because of tightness in his right elbow, but he said it was a precautionary move so he is ready for the postseason.

"Weighing the risk-reward of throwing a game, maybe going five, six, seven innings and having something happening, especially with [bad] weather, who knows what could happen?" said Hammel, who has been bothered by the discomfort for a couple of weeks. "It stinks. Obviously, I want to make the start. We're kind of thinking ahead and availability in October."

Hammel was able to play catch on Thursday and said he was actually feeling better.

Will this keep Hammel out of the Cubs' postseason rotation for the National League Division Series, which begins Oct. 7 at Wrigley Field? Manager Joe Maddon wasn't ready to announce his starters yet.

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"I don't want to jump the gun announcing everything," Maddon said. "You have to talk to people first before you publicly announce. He's got a little bit of a problem going on, but it's not so bad either."

Hammel did alter his offseason program, both in terms of his physical and mental preparation, and said he was pleased with the results. The right-hander finishes the regular season with a career high in wins, going 15-10 in 30 starts. He thrived at Wrigley Field, posting a 10-2 record and a 2.42 ERA in 15 starts there.

"Overall, my body feels good," Hammel said. "I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish, which was make 30 starts and be competitive, save for five, six starts. Out of 30, I'd say that's pretty good."

Maddon also was pleased with Hammel's efforts.

"I thought he carried it through the season," Maddon said. "You have to look at the final results, and what he did helped. Take away a couple moments, and this guy had incredibly good numbers."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.