The Oakland A’s are set to see a significant shift with their starting rotation. According to San Francisco Chronicle beat writer Susan Slusser, the A’s will be adding Jharel Cotton and Daniel Mengden to their starting rotation this week to replace injured starters Kendall Graveman and Jesse Hahn. Graveman and Hahn are expected to be placed on the disabled list this weekend.
Graveman was the scheduled starter for the A’s against the New York Yankees on Friday, but he was scratched from his start with shoulder soreness. He didn’t travel with the team and is expected to miss more than the minimum of 10 days with the shoulder issue. It is the second time this season that Graveman has experienced issues with his throwing shoulder.
Sean Manaea took Graveman’s place on Friday night, and the left-handed starter was brilliant in the A’s 4-1 win over the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Manaea threw seven scoreless innings, striking out eight and walking one. He earned the win after the A’s broke a 0-0 tie with two runs in the top of the eighth. Oakland would score two more times on a Stephen Vogt homer in the top of the ninth to give the team a four-run cushion. Santiago Casilla escaped a scary ninth inning with one run allowed to secure the win.
Cotton is expected to start Saturday’s game for the A’s. Cotton began the season in the A’s rotation, but he was optioned to Triple-A Nashville when Sonny Gray returned to the A’s rotation in mid-May. Cotton has had two starts with the Sounds since being sent down and he has pitched well, posting a 2.25 ERA with 13 strike-outs and just one walk in 12 innings. He last pitched for Nashville last Sunday, when he threw seven scoreless innings against the Sacramento River Cats.
Mengden is expected to take Hahn’s spot in the rotation. Hahn is dealing with right triceps soreness. Mengden split his 2016 season between the minor leagues and the big leagues, but he started this year on the disabled list with a broken foot he sustained during the off-season. He returned on May 8 and has made four starts for Nashville. In 20.1 innings, he has a 2.21 ERA and a 20:5 K:BB for the Sounds. Mengden last pitched on Tuesday, when he tossed seven scoreless innings against Omaha.
The A’s injury issues will have a significant impact on the Nashville starting rotation. On Friday, Nashville went with Michael Brady as a starter. Brady took Cotton’s turn in the rotation. The Cal alum went four innings and he allowed two runs. Brady had been pitching as a reliever for much of the season. On Thursday, Raul Alcantara moved out of the Sounds’ bullpen to make a start in Chris Bassitt‘s place. Bassitt, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, is being held back after experiencing soreness in his surgically repaired elbow.
The Sounds added starter Corey Walter and reliever Jake Sanchez from Midland on Thursday. Walter should fill one of the rotation spots vacated by Cotton and Mengden. If Brady remains in the rotation, the A’s may not bring up another starter from Midland to fill the second spot. Sanchez made his Nashville debut on Saturday night and tossed two scoreless innings in the Sounds’ 8-3, 11-inning loss to Omaha.
In other transaction news, Jaff Decker returned to the active Nashville roster for the first time since he was outrighted by Oakland on May 13. Decker had been on the disabled list since May 16.
Other News and Notes
— The Nashville Sounds lost a tough one on Friday, 8-3, to the Omaha Storm Chasers in 11 innings. The Sounds scored once in the eighth and twice in the ninth to tie the game, only to lose when Omaha scored five unearned runs off of Simon Castro in the 11th. Melvin Mercedes came on as a pitcher in the 11th and threw 0.1 scoreless innings.
— The Midland RockHounds scored seven runs in the seventh inning but suffered a rare bullpen meltdown, losing 11-10 after the NW Arkansas Naturals scored twice in the eighth and three times in the ninth. The three ninth-inning runs came off of Carlos Navas, who had allowed just one earned run all season up until Friday. Viosergy Rosa hit a grandslam and a solo homer. He now has nine homers on the season.
— The Beloit Snappers blew a one-run lead in the 10th inning, but scored three times in the 11th to earn a 6-3 win over the Quad Cities River Bandits. Luke Persico, Nate Mondou, Luis Barrera, Edwin Diaz and Eric Marinez each had two-hit games. Jesus Zambrano got the start and threw 3.2 innings, allowing a run. Mitchell Jordan took over in the fourth and threw 5.1 innings, allowing a run. He struck-out seven and walked four. Yordy Alejo got the win despite blowing the lead in the 10th.
— The Stockton Ports struggled in an 8-1 loss to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes on Friday night. Boomer Biegalski allowed six runs in three innings. Four of the nine hits he gave up were homeruns. Dustin Hurlbutt was effective as the piggy-back starter, allowing two runs in five innings. He walked two and struck-out six. Eli White, with two hits, was the only Stockton hitter to record a multi-hit game.
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