Jharel Cotton Returns to Form, Will Start Third Game of Regular Season

Jharel Cotton used a lesson he learned from his previous start in spring training – it is not good for him to sit during long innings.

On Sunday, Cotton struck seven Brewers out and gave up just one run during 5 2/3 innings as the Oakland A’s defeated Milwaukee 11-0.

During his previous start, Cotton gave up 5 runs during just 3 2/3 innings of work against Seattle. That came after Oakland had scored 6 runs in its third inning.

Oakland on Sunday scored 5 runs during the third, and 4 more during the fourth. It is there that Cotton changed his strategy. He decided to throw some while Oakland was piling up runs against the Brewers.

Cotton told reporters after the game that he did not want the same thing to happen that did in his previous start where he sat down for the full half inning and his arm was not loose when he went back out to the mound.

Today, he called himself proactive by playing catch so he would remain loose and returning to the mound he was not hurt by being tight or inactive.

Cotton held Milwaukee to just four hits and gave up one walk. In his previous start against Seattle he walked five batters.

Cotton has a great changeup. However, he focused Sunday on fastball command against Milwaukee. He said he was on the attack more often against the Brewers so he could then setup the change and other off speed pitches he has.

He added that he needed his fastball to be on so he could then throw his other pitch off the fastball and was successful on Sunday.

The only run Cotton gave up was a home run to Ryan Braun. The homer came on a fastball with the count 2-0. However, Cotton was able to strike out Braun in the first as well as the fifth inning.

Cotton is set to start the third game of the regular season on April 5 for the A’s with Kendall Graveman starting opening day followed by Sean Manaea on the second day of the season.

Oakland’s back half of its rotation was also solidified on Sunday when the team optioned Jesse Hahn to Triple-A. Hahn started 25 games over the last two seasons for the A’s. He was 8-10 with an ERA of 4.22, but has given up 14 runs in his past 6 plus innings this spring.

With Hahn optioned to Triple-A, Andrew Triggs a right-hander will be the fourth starter and right-hander Raul Alcantara will be the fifth starter. Between the two, they have just 16 starts in the majors.

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