Hammel: Bad inning, good spring

Rockies right-hander Jason Hammel was strong overall, but his Cactus League ended with a bad final inning. Hammel gave up four runs in the fifth inning of Monday’s game against the Rangers. The inning featured Nelson Cruz’s two-run shot, after Vladimir Guerrero had reached on a bad-hop grounder that should have ended the inning.

 

For the game, Hammel went five innings, threw 90 pitches, and gave up five runs and eight hits, with four strikeouts and two walks.

 

“I’m ready to start making them count,” Hammel said. “My line wasn’t good but my arm felt good. I wanted to pull a positive out of it, but the last inning I got beat by a couple of fastballs that were up and a curveball that I hung. This is a good-hitting lineup and they hit mistakes.”

 

Hammel said one positive was he found his slider during the game. That and the elevated pitch count put him in a good position to start the regular season.

 

The outing against the Rangers increased Hammel’s spring ERA from 3.79 to 4.88. Hammel is scheduled for his first regular-season start April 10 at Coors Field against the Padres. He’ll throw one more time between now and then, at the Rockies’ training complex in Tucson, Ariz.

 

“Jason Hammel had a better outing than the numbers would indicate,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. “Obviously, he was out of the inning on the groundball that Guerrero hit that took the bad hop. But that’s not an excuse to hang the breaking ball he hung to Nelson Cruz, which is what happened.

 

“But he got his pitch count up there where we wanted it today.”

 

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