Utz works, ac­cord­ing to Ham­mel

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - MARK GON­ZA­LES

CHICAGO — Ja­son Ham­mel now has plenty of re­sources for avoid­ing cramps in his pitch­ing hand.

Five boxes of Utz potato chips that stood nearly as tall as the six­foot-six Ham­mel were in front of his Wrigley Field locker Wed­nes­day morn­ing.

“I have enough to ob­vi­ously make it through the next 13 to 14 starts,” Ham­mel quipped.

Un­der the sug­ges­tion of team doc­tor Stephen Adams, potato chips were rec­om­mended to Ham­mel, who has ex­pe­ri­enced cramp­ing that has cur­tailed his work­load. Ham­mel pitched six in­nings Sat­ur­day in a vic­tory over the Texas Rangers and said he ate sea salt and vine­gar chips be­tween in­nings.

“Be care­ful what you wish for,” said Ham­mel, who un­der­went a nu­tri­tional over­haul in the off-sea­son. “You are what you eat. I don’t want to get com­pletely wrapped up in this stuff, but it’s awe­some.”

Ham­mel rat­tled off the ben­e­fits of pota­toes, which he said pro­vide potas­sium and car­bo­hy­drates.

“It’s not a break­fast or meal of cham­pi­ons, but there are quirky things for ev­ery­body,” Ham­mel said.

The vol­ume of chips over­whelmed Ham­mel.

“I’m go­ing to pour these into the bath­tub when I get home,” he joked.

When it was sug­gested that beer might be needed to wash down the chips, Ham­mel im­me­di­ately re­jected that no­tion.

“We al­ready had trou­bles with that from the past, so you don’t want to do that,” Ham­mel said. “No beer and chicken wings.”

Ham­mel was re­fer­ring to a 2011 in­ci­dent in which team­mates Jon Lester and John Lackey were among sev­eral Bos­ton Red Sox pitch­ers con­sum­ing beer and fried chicken in the club­house dur­ing games.

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