Cubs starter Jason Hammel isn’t angry anymore. But two days after he got surprised by a quick hook for the second start in a row, the veteran right-hander still wants to talk to the manager about it – if for no other reason than to avoid being surprised again.
“I don’t want to make more of a big deal of it,” Hammel said Friday afternoon. “I plan on talking to him.”
Hammel, who’s back to full strength after a July leg injury, was the Cubs most consistent pitcher early in the season.
“Earlier in the season I would have left him out there for nine innings,” said Maddon who said he’s “happy” Hammel was mad at being pulled Wednesday night in the sixth after just 65 pitches. “He just hasn’t been as sharp with his command lately. But he will be. Coming off the injury has probably had a little bit of an impact on all of that.”
Hammel (6-5, 3.10) played for Maddon in Tampa Bay early in his career.
“It’s the the way that he runs his bullpen and the way he makes his moves to win,” Hammel said. “I’m not trying to take the reins from him. He’s the manager. He’s going to make the decisions he needs to make to win the ballgame.
“The ultimate goal is to win. Check your ego at the door.
“We’re into crunch time now. Twenty-four hours later, I’ve been able to think about the situation. It’s done. We won the ballgame. That’s all that matters to me.”
The Cubs won both games from which Hammel was pulled early, each by a run.
Maddon acknowledged Wednesday night he might be pushing the “statute of limitations” on how many times he could do that to the veteran Hammel.
He also suggested Hammel could benefit physically for it in the long run this season.
“I know as we move this thing forward he’s going to play really big for us down the stretch,” Maddon said.