Orioles right-hander Jason Hammel is back from the disabled list after missing the past six weeks with a strained forearm, although manager Buck Showalter hasn’t said for sure yet how he plans to use him.
Hammel was one of the Orioles’ best starters last season, throwing 118 innings with a 3.43 ERA and 113/42 K/BB ratio, but he posted a 5.20 ERA in 21 starts this year before being shut down in late July.
He threw a combined 6.2 innings of one-run ball in two appearances in the minors to convince the Orioles he’s ready, but may not be fully stretched out to make a normal start quite yet.
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.