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Oakland A’s injury update: Jharel Cotton to bullpen?

Also, Nick Martini activated from injured list

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s activated outfielder Nick Martini from the injured list on Tuesday, the team announced. He was then optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas.

Martini hurt his knee at the beginning of spring training, and he didn’t return to the field until early May for a rehab assignment in the minors. He’ll stay in Vegas, where his stats are looking especially strong after a four-hit game on Wednesday:

Martini, AAA: 18-51 (.353), 9 BB, 10 Ks, 1 double

Here’s some other news around the injured list.

Khris Davis, DH

The slugger is making progress as he recovers from a bruised hip/oblique. On Tuesday he swung the bat, and on Wednesday he did tee work and soft toss, reports Ben Ross of NBCS. He’s eligible to come off the IL on Saturday, but it’s not yet known whether he will do so.

Jharel Cotton, RHP

He has now made three rehab starts for High-A Stockton, as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. His latest outing was his best yet, with two scoreless innings. He struck out three batters in that game, and the only baserunner reached on an error (albeit, committed by Cotton himself).

Cotton’s return to action is great news, but of particular interest this week is word that he “will likely pitch out of the bullpen this season upon returning to the big leagues,” reports insider Martin Gallegos. The move would help keep his innings in check as he eases back from major surgery, notes Gallegos in his full writeup.

Sean Manaea, LHP

He threw a 40-pitch bullpen on Wednesday and used all of his pitches, reports Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle. However, there is still no timetable for the left-hander, neither for his return nor even for a rehab assignment, notes Slusser in her full writeup. Manaea is recovering from shoulder surgery that he underwent last September.

Chris Herrmann, C

He did baserunning drills on Monday and is close to a rehab assignment, reports Slusser. However, with Josh Phegley enjoying a breakout and Nick Hundley beginning to produce, it remains to be seen whether there will even be room for the lefty-swinging Herrmann, notes Slusser in her full writeup.

Marco Estrada, RHP

He is “still not doing baseball activity yet but he is hopeful he might start playing catch next week,” reported Slusser on Sunday. Estrada is out with a strained back, for which he had an ablation procedure in late April.

Pitching prospects

A few top prospects dealing with injuries, with encouraging news all around:

  • LHP Jesus Luzardo “threw live BP in Arizona [Saturday] and was hitting 96 mph,” reports Gallegos. He’s been out all season with a shoulder injury.
  • LHP A.J. Puk has been throwing in the mid-90s in his return from TJS, reports Athletics Farm. He and Luzardo “should both start pitching in real games in late June,” according to minor league pitching coordinator Gil Patterson. However, like Cotton, he could wind up in the bullpen this year so as not to run through his available innings too quickly, notes Slusser.
  • RHP James Kaprielian has “been sitting around 91mph at Stockton,” reported A’s Farm on Saturday. Then, on Wednesday, the velocity was up to 93-95, reports Ports broadcaster Zack Bayrouty. His line so far through three rehab outings in High-A, as he returns from TJS: 8 ip, 8 Ks, 2 BB, 1 HR, 7 hits.
  • RHP Gus Varland “should be joining Stockton in couple weeks,” reports A’s Farm. He ranked No. 22 on our Community Prospect List this winter, but has missed the season so far due to a knee injury.
  • RHP Daulton Jefferies is still looking great in Double-A in his return from TJS (15 ip, 21 Ks, 2 BB, 4 runs), while RHP Grant Holmes has pitched twice since returning from a brief IL stint for his shoulder (6 ip, 2 runs, 2 Ks, 4 BB).

Best of luck to all the injured A’s in their recoveries!