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Jason Hammel stumps for potato chips as a performance enhancer

CHICAGO -- Now Jason Hammel can go nuts with the Utz.

One of the little ironies of our celebrity-fueled culture is that the free stuff is often bestowed upon those who need it the least. If you’re a matinee idol, you’ll score a gift bag at Oscars time, full of high-dollar freebies like exotic vacations, jewelry and watches. And if you’re a baseball player, you get a big box of potato chips.

The other day, Hammel talked of some offbeat doctor’s orders: Eat chips. The comment was kind of a joke, but the sentiment was not.