In case you missed Jason Hammel’s press conference on Friday, the 2000 South Kitsap graduate is excited to be back with the Chicago Cubs.
The right-hander, who signed a two-year, $20 million deal, called his three months with the Cubs the best three months of his career.
Hammel will be reunited with Joe Maddon, his manager at Tampa, and Chris Bosio, the former Mariner who is the Cubs’ pitching coach.
Hammel was 4-1 with a 2.35 ERA at Wrigley Field last season before being traded to Oakland. Jon Lester, who was with Hammel in Oakland, will be a teammate in Chicago as well. Jake Arrieta had 10 wins and a 2.53 ERA.
“I can’t predict the future, but it’s going to be a very dominant rotation,” Hammel, 32, said. “And you win championships with pitching. Obviously, the offense helps. But all the teams that go (to the postseason), they all have dominant, consistent pitching.”
* Congratulations are in order for Lauren Haas, Olympic High grad who will be inducted into the Southern Illinois Hall of Fame in 2015. Haas, an infielder, was a four-year standout in fastpitch for the Salukis, and the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year in 2008.
* Speaking of Hall of Fames, the 2015 Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame banquet will be held Jan. 24 at Kiana Lodge. Check out this link for a list of inductees. Tickets are $30 in advance; $35 at the door.
* North Kitsap grad Kasey Dunn joined the Oklahoma State coaching staff as receivers coach in February of 2011. Dunn and the Cowboys preparation for the Washington Huskies this week. OSU (6-6) and the UW (8-5) will play Jan. 2 in the Cactus Bowl in Tempe, Ariz. I talked to Dunn over the weekend. The well-traveled Dunn — he’s coached at nine colleges and had a two-year stint as running backs coach with the Seahawks — has been at OSU for four years, his second-longest tour of duty since getting into the business. He was at Washington State for five years. The Huskies contacted him about a possible position when Rick Neuheisel took over from Keith Gilbertston, but the timing wasn’t right. Dunn was happy at WSU, where Mike Price was the head coach.
* I always thought Jake Locker would have been an All-Pro safety if he’d played on the defensive side of the ball. He turned out to be a really good quarterback, but we’ll never know how good because of all the injuries he’s suffered. Locker dislocated his shoulder for the third time on Sunday, and his career with the Tennessee Titans is probably over.
* Jason Flora, senior form Bremerton, averages 13.0 points and 5.4 rebounds for the Seattle Redhawks (4-5), who play Northwest College on campus at Connolly Center Monday night. SU’s other home games are played at KeyArena.
* I won’t be surprised if Eastern Washington (8-2) wins the Big Sky Conference this year. I’m talking basketball, not football. The Eagles let one get away at No. 17 Washington on Sunday. They led the Huskies by 10 with 11:22 left but couldn’t hold on, losing 81-77. EWU’s not real deep, but they’ve got enough weapons to give anyone a tough time. Sophomore guard Travis Harvey (20.5 ppg) and Australian junior forward Jenky Vois (20.3 ppg) are for real. Harvey led the Big Sky in scoring a year ago. EWU beat Indiana in Bloomington earlier in the season. If the Eagles beat No. 19 California (9-1) in Berkeley on Dec. 19, they just might crack the top-25 polls.
* I still can’t get Robert Turbin’s 8-yard run out of my head. You know the one. It was 2nd-and-9 from the 12 and Turbo turned Beast Mode, running over the 49ers’ Antoine Bethea. Marshawn Lynch scored the go-ahead touchdown on the next play from the 4, and the Seahawks were in control.