Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler has missed two straight seasons due to Tommy John surgery and a complication-filled recovery therefrom. Now his spring is starting out rocky as well.
Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen said today that Wheeler felt “a little tenderness” in his elbow following his bullpen session. The thought is that it’s just scar tissue and he’ll be OK, but they said that when he started having setbacks last year too.
The Mets were already looking at an innings limit in the low 100s for wheeler this year, as well as a lot of time in the pen to manage his workload. If his elbow is wonky this spring, it could be even less than that.
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.