Orioles starter Chris Tillman has pitched on Opening Day for the past three years. He is not expected to pitch Opening Day for the Orioles this year, however, after receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection his right shoulder in December.
The therapy has him three weeks behind schedule and, even with the slightly longer than usual spring training due to the World Baseball Classic, there isn’t enough time to make it up.
If he proceeds well from here on out he could avoid a DL stint to start the season as the O’s likely don’t need a fifth starter until the middle of April.
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.