Fred Lewis signs with Japanese team

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Not so long ago I thought Fred Lewis was an underrated all-around player who deserved an extended opportunity to be an everyday outfielder, but he’s been injured and ineffective for the past two seasons.

And now he’s headed to Japan, as Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker reports that Lewis has signed a one-year deal with the Hiroshima Carp worth $400,000 plus $150,000 in potential incentives and a team option for 2014.

Lewis is a 32-year-old career .266 hitter with a solid .747 OPS for the Giants, Blue Jays, Reds, and Mets, but he’s stretched defensively in center field and spent most of this year putting up good but not great numbers at Triple-A.

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.