Don’t be alarmed if you should happen to catch new Royals pitcher Jason Hammel eating some potato chips in the dugout during a game this season.
He’s merely following doctors orders.
Last year, Hammel was having troubles with cramps in his pitching hand until his doctor contacted him during the All-Star break.
“Doc called me over the break and actually told me again today,” Hammel told reporters last year after a start. “Potato chips. My prescription is potato chips. Which blew me away, because I’ve never heard a doctor that said potato chips. He said for my cramps, if it’s a chronic thing, he said potato chips, because they’ve got a lot of potassium, and obviously the sea salt helps retain water. So I focused on that over the break. I ate a lot of potato chips, and I think it turned out pretty well.
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“A potato chip prescription — PCP — that’s what I’m going to try and go with.”
Laugh if you will, but Hammel had his best stretch of the 2016 season with the Cubs after potato chips were added to his diet. In his next six starts, Hammel went 6-0 and had a 0.95 ERA, while opponents hit just .172. He struck out 34 and walked 12 in 38 innings.
But Hammel said he tries to hide his, uh, prescription in-game.
“I didn’t eat them in the dugout,” Hammel told reporters. “I was in the tunnel.”
Here are six other things to know about Hammel:
▪ When Hammel was with Colorado, the Rockies media guide noted that Hammel spent two years as Chukar mascot for basketball games at Treasure Valley (Ore.) Community College. He did it as a freshman and sophomore.
▪ Hammel has his own blog called HammelTown. However, he doesn’t seem to update it all that often.
▪ In 2012, Hammel was traded (with Matt Lindstrom) from the Colorado Rockies to the Baltimore Orioles for pitcher Jeremy Guthrie. After 19 games with the Rockies, Guthrie was traded to the Royals for Jonathan Sanchez. Sanchez is back with the Royals after signing a minor-league contract.
▪ Someone once made a Lego mosaic portrait of Hammel, when he was with the Orioles.
▪ According to that Rockies media guide, Hammel is an artist and has a tattoo on his back of one of his drawings: a baseball with red flames coming off the end.