Why one MLB pitcher was put on a potato-chip diet

Most Americans have likely heard of the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet and the Paleo Diet. Most probably won’t believe the diet Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jason Hammel recently started using at the suggestion of the team doctor.

Hammel started a potato chip diet over the All-Star break after suffering cramping in his pitching hand (He’s a right-hander) in his final start before the break. The team physician told Hammel he needed more potassium in his diet to prevent the cramping and suggested potato chips because they’re a good source of potassium.

Hammel held the Rangers to one run and three hits in his first outing after receiving the advice and periodically ate potato chips between innings just as the doctor ordered. It seemed to do the trick.

“For my cramps, if it’s a chronic thing, [the doctor] said, ‘Potato chips,’ because they have a lot of potassium and the sea salt helps retain water,” Hammel told “So I focused on that over the break and ate a lot of potato chips, and I think it turned out pretty well. Potato chip prescription … that’s what I’m going to try to go with.”

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Hammel’s waistline grow slightly while he’s on the diet, but we’re guessing that’s something Hammel, the Cubs and the team’s fans are willing to live with if it helps him continue to pitch well and remain in games longer.

It also wouldn’t be a surprise to see Hammel endorsing some brand of potato chips in the near future. He seems like the perfect pitchman in this case.

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Kyle Ringo is a contributing writer to Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KyleRingo