Johan Santana to begin rehab assignment Saturday

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Five weeks after being shut down because of shoulder discomfort, Johan Santana will begin another rehab assignment Saturday with high-A St. Lucie.’s Adam Rubin reports that Santana will throw two innings or40 pitches in his first appearance back.  If things proceed well, then the chance exists that he’ll come off the DL and make a couple of brief appearances for the Mets at the end of the year.

Santana hasn’t pitched in the majors since surgery a year ago to repair a torn capsule in his shoulder.  Not counting what’s left of this year’s $22.5 million salary, the Mets will owe him an $55 million through 2013 or $74.5 million if they want to pick up his 2014 option.

Jharel Cotton to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Athletics right-hander Jharel Cotton will undergo Tommy John surgery, per an announcement on Saturday. Cotton initially experienced some elbow soreness during a Cactus League start earlier this week and was officially diagnosed with a strained ulnar collateral ligament and strained flexor muscle on Thursday. He’ll be out of commission until 2019 at the earliest.

This isn’t the first time Cotton has dealt with elbow issues. According to’s Jane Lee, he had screws inserted in his right elbow after sustaining a stress fracture in 2013 and suffered some minor elbow discomfort again last fall. Prior to his diagnosis, the 26-year-old was poised for his third run with the A’s in 2018. He pitched his first full season with the club in 2017, turning in a 5.58 ERA, 3.7 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 in 24 starts and 129 innings.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle adds that the team is open to adding pitching depth this spring, though they’ll wait to see if the price goes down on some free agents first. Barring that, right-handed long reliever Andrew Triggs could be tabbed to fill the fifth spot in the rotation.