BALTIMORE -- The Orioles have placed pitcher Jason Hammel on the 15-day disabled list with right flexor mass tightness. The move is retroactive to Monday, so Hammel will be eligible to return Aug. 13. The struggling starter may not even miss a start, because the Orioles could use four pitchers on regular rest with the upcoming off-days, manager Buck Showalter said.
Hammel's DL stint comes the same day the team acquired starter Bud Norris from the Astros, so the Orioles already have five healthy members of the rotation. Showalter also said Hammel's injury "somewhat" impacted Baltimore's trade late Wednesday afternoon for Norris, although the Astros righty had been on the team's radar for quite some time.
Hammel said the nagging issue first began in Spring Training, and it's most noticeable on his slider. The team will get a precautionary MRI, perhaps as early as Thursday.
"It's not really a pain thing, it's more of an uncomfortable thing," Hammel said. "Hopefully tomorrow, the MRI will tell me something. When something doesn't hurt, it's confusing. You feel all right to a certain extent, and then things change as you get a little deeper into your outing."
The Orioles' Opening Day starter, Hammel hasn't won a game since May 27 and has averaged fewer than six innings a start over that stretch. He last pitched on Sunday, giving up three earned runs on six hits and five walks in Baltimore's loss to the Red Sox. The 30-year-old Hammel is 7-8 with a 5.20 ERA in 21 starts.
He said it affected him when he'd try to get full extension on his pitching arm.
"I figured I could pitch through it. As of right now, it's really not what's best for this team," Hammel said. "I haven't been pitching to my capability, and it's really not worth going out there and further injuring myself. We got Bud in here now to further help out and with all the off-days coming up, maybe I miss one or two starts and hopefully get this thing under control."
The Orioles have also activated outfielder Steve Pearce from the disabled list, and he will take the active roster spot vacated by L.J. Hoes, who was part of the Norris swap with Houston.
Derek Wetmore is an associate reporter for MLB.com.. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.