Just when things were beginning to take shape for Jharel Cotton, who was vying for an Opening Day rotation spot, bad news has struck.
Cotton (3.75 ERA, 1.17 WHIP) had been in competition for one of three rotation vacancies, and after struggling through his first four appearances, allowing five hits and four earned runs in 4 innings, he had locked into a groove. In his two last starts of the spring, the right-handed changeup specialist held the opposition to three hits and one run combined, striking out five in 4 innings each time out.
The injury virtually assures Paul Blackburn (3.86 ERA, 1.07 WHIP) an Opening Day spot. It also opens the door for AJ Puk (3.38 ERA, 1.22 WHIP), the franchise’s No. 1 prospect (No. 32 league-wide) according to MLB.com, to slide into one of the three open slots.
Also battling for one of the spots are Daniel Mengden (8.04 ERA, 1.79 WHIP) and Andrew Triggs (4.63 ERA, 0.77 WHIP). One of the four will be sent to Triple-A Nashville when Cactus League play completes.