Hammel not happy with early hook

Coming off 10-run outing, veteran removed by Maddon with 1 out in 3rd

Hammel not happy with early hook

LOS ANGELES -- Jason Hammel was not happy about being pulled after 39 pitches over 2 1/3 innings on Saturday. It didn't even count as a start, the Cubs right-hander said. And after the game, which the Cubs lost, 3-2, to the Dodgers, he met with manager Joe Maddon.

"He was not happy with me taking him out that early, and I can understand why," Maddon said. "I just didn't see the game straightening out. Watching him one time through [the order], it looked like they were on him a little bit. I thought it was a great lineup for Rob [Zastryzny]. One of the things with arms, I want to put them in meaningful spots.

"I didn't see it happening for 'Hammer' today, and that's cool, because he didn't throw that many pitches, so he'll be well-rested for his next start," Maddon said. "It also illustrates Rob Z. and what he can do for us in the future."

The rookie left-hander replaced Hammel and retired 11 of the 12 batters he faced in an impressive outing that will give Maddon something to think about as the Cubs' season progresses into October. Right now, Maddon has to deal with Hammel.

"I want them to be able to [vent]," Maddon said. "I think it's healthy. I have a reason why I did it. I'm not going to hide behind anything. There was a reason to do it today.

"There's a great line -- honesty without compassion equals cruelty. So at some point, you have to understand your audience, too."

Hammel would not talk about his meeting with Maddon.

"That's information for me and him, and that's it," Hammel said.

During the game, Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully described Hammel as a ground-ball pitcher who couldn't get a ground-ball out.

"I guess so," Hammel said. "The home run to [Corey] Seager and [Andrew] Toles' double really were the only things I remember balls getting hit hard. Other than that, I felt that their hits found the holes. It is what it is. The guys fought hard and [Zastryzny] did a [heck] of a job coming out of the 'pen and picking up a lot of innings for us. It [stinks]."

Hammel was trying to get back on track after a rough outing against the Rockies in which he'd given up 10 runs over 3 1/3 innings. The right-hander had won six straight starts from July 16-Aug. 16 before the Rockies game.

But it must have been hard for Hammel to understand why he wasn't allowed to work out of a jam and go deeper.

"Of course, he didn't like what I told him, but I had to tell him, and that's cool," Maddon said. "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence or any other issues."

Hammel's next start will be Thursday against the Giants at Wrigley Field. He will be well-rested.

"I didn't even pitch today in my mind," Hammel said. "I barely threw 40 pitches. This is a side day for me, pretty much."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.