Stephen Strasburg turned in another dominant start yesterday, shutting out the Marlins for six innings to improve to 10-4 with a 2.66 ERA and league-leading 135 strikeouts, and also went 1-for-1 with a walk and an RBI single at the plate.
Strasburg was a typical terrible-hitting pitcher in his first two seasons, going 1-for-26 with 10 strikeouts, but this season has been a completely different story. He’s now 10-for-26 (.385) with one homer, four doubles, and two walks, which is good for a .448 on-base percentage and .654 slugging percentage.
Seriously, the guy has a 1.102 OPS in 31 plate appearances after coming into the season 1-for-26. Among actual hitters Andrew McCutchen leads the National League with a 1.074 OPS.
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.