Chris Hammond is a left-handed relief pitcher who came to the Reds by way of free agency before the 2006 season. In his 16-year career, Hammond has played for Cincinnati (1990-1992), Florida (1993-1996), Boston (1997), Florida again (1998), no one (retired due to bone spurs in his elbow, family issues, etc 1999-2001), Atlanta (apparently the elbow felt better 2002), New York Yankees (2003), Oakland (2004), San Diego (2005), and Cincinnati again (2006). Hammond went 5-1 with a 3.84 ERA for the Padres last year.
Hammond qualifies as a “veteran presence.” When he appeared on the scene in Cincy in 1990, one of his teammates was Ken Griffey. Now he’s playing with junior Griffey, who’s starting to show his age.
The Reds brought in Hammond not as a role player in the bullpen, but as a role player in the clubhouse. And according to the Cincinnati Enquirer, he’s already talking to the young’uns:
“I try to tell the other guys on the team, ‘Don’t expect to be the setup guy or the closer,’ ” Hammond said. “After the fourth inning you should start stretching, and that’s the role I want and expect to have.”
Hammond is hardly a flame-thrower: his fastball might touch the upper 80s. That’s OK. According to ESPN.com, Hammond’s real strength is pinpointing his change-up. They also point out that he fields his position well, so that ought to be a nice change of pace.