Travis Hafner was originally expected to miss four to six weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on May 31. It sounds like he’ll be able to come pretty close to meeting the low end of that timetable.
Hafner began a minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Columbus last night and went 1-for-3 with a strikeout. He’s expected to continue getting at-bats in the minors through the weekend, but Indians manager Manny Acta told Jordan Bastian of MLB.com this afternoon that it’s “realistic” he’ll rejoin the team for Monday’s game against the Angels.
Hafner, 35, was hitting .242/.380/.439 with six homers, 23 RBI and an .819 OPS in 166 plate appearances prior to the surgery. The Indians have relied on multiple players to fill the DH spot during his absence.
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 MLB.com’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.