DANVILLE, Ill. - Jason Hamm cannot wait for the Danville Dans season opener on Thursday.

That’s because Hamm has spent the past four months watching his Saint Leo University Lions while he redshirted and recovered from a major knee injury.

Hamm, who played for the Dans last year, played in just two games for the Lions this spring before suffering his season-ending injury.

“As soon as I found out that I was going to redshirt, I called up Ms. Jeanie Cooke and asked her if I could come back this summer,’’ said Hamm. “I had a great time last year and I really improved a lot. I’ve been looking forward to coming back.’’

Hamm is only eligible to play for the Dans because of his medical redshirt. Players in summer collegiate baseball leagues are required to have eligibility remaining to participate.

The senior catcher from Tampa, Fla., batted .216 last summer with the Dans and he finished the year with a .985 field percentage.

“I think my experience from last year will help a lot,’’ Hamm said. “I know the league. I know a lot of the players and the coaches. And, I know the travel and the routine.’’

Also coming back to the Dans this summer from Saint Leo is right-handed pitcher Matt Smith.

“I hate it. We have to deal with him again,’’ Smith joked. “Actually, I’m glad to have him. I did well here with him last year.

“Having a solid catcher is what a pitcher needs to succeed.’’

Read more about Jason Hamm and Matt Smith here.