Jharel Cotton's changeup is nasty, but pitchers need more than one weapon in their arsenal to sustain success against big-league hitters. After Cotton turned in a 2.15 ERA in a five-start sample in 2016, he was rocked for a 5.58 ERA last season. Home runs were a major problem (1.95 HR/9) as Cotton's flyball rate hovered around 46 percent -- his "sinker" hardly gets any sink and he had a nasty habit of leaving his four-seamer up in the wheelhouse of lefty batters (14 homers allowed to lefties). Walks compounded the issues with the long ball, with Cotton issuing free passes at a 9.4 percent clip, and he managed only a modest 18.6 percent strikeout rate. Fortunately, a late-season elbow scare proved minor, as Cotton was given a clean bill of health heading into the offseason. With a lack of quality alternatives behind him, he seems likely to get a chance to make amends in the rotation in 2018.
Cotton (elbow) will undergo Tommy John surgery, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports. Cotton was diagnosed with a strained UCL and flexor tendon earlier in the week, and a second opinion confirmed the issue will require surgery to heal. This is a tough break for the 26-year-old righty, who was battling for a back-end rotation spot before suffering the season-ending injury. He'll now set his sights on getting healthy for the start of the 2019 campaign.
Cotton is receiving a second opinion on his elbow Friday, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Cotton was diagnosed with a strained UCL and flexor tendon in his right arm Thursday. Those diagnoses are often precursors to Tommy John surgery, though Cotton says his elbow feels fine and has full strength. Whether or not the 26-year-old will need surgery should become clear following the second opinion.
Cotton (elbow) has been diagnosed with a strained UCL and flexor tendon in his right arm, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports. Cotton experienced some soreness in his throwing arm this week and went in for an MRI on Tuesday. Strains of this nature are often a precursor to Tommy John surgery, but Cotton and the Athletics have not made a decision on his best recovery option, though manager Bob Melvin is not ruling out the possibility of surgery, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The 26-year-old will seek a second opinion, but the preliminary results are not encouraging. Cotton can be left off redraft radars following this news.
Cotton will receive an MRI on his sore elbow Tuesday, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports. Cotton looked good in Monday's start, throwing four scoreless innings against the Giants. He's been sent home to receive an MRI and will miss at least his next start and possibly more depending on the results of the test. Cotton is battling for a spot in the back of Oakland's rotation, but his chances could be hurt if he misses too much time this spring.
Cotton fired four scoreless innings in Monday's 6-5 Cactus League loss to the Giants, issuing three walks but recording five strikeouts. The up-and-down right-hander was impressive for a second straight outing, working four frames for the second consecutive start and breezing through them with an up-tempo pace that seems to be benefitting him considerably. Jane Lee of MLB.com also reports that Cotton made up for not having ideal fastball command by utilizing his changeup prudently when behind in the count. The 26-year-old has now compiled 16 strikeouts over 12 exhibition innings and appears to be hitting his stride at the right time, a trend he'll look to continue in a likely start against the split squad of either the Mariners or Giants on Saturday.