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Montas optioned to make room for Cotton

MLB.com

OAKLAND -- The A's activated right-hander Jharel Cotton Sunday morning, a day after announcing he'd fill in for Sonny Gray, whose start was pushed back.

With the non-waiver Trade Deadline coming at 1 p.m. PT on Monday, the A's elected to push Gray's start to Monday, with the dual purpose of giving him an extra day of rest and also allowing more time for a potential deal to be made.

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OAKLAND -- The A's activated right-hander Jharel Cotton Sunday morning, a day after announcing he'd fill in for Sonny Gray, whose start was pushed back.

With the non-waiver Trade Deadline coming at 1 p.m. PT on Monday, the A's elected to push Gray's start to Monday, with the dual purpose of giving him an extra day of rest and also allowing more time for a potential deal to be made.

View Full Game Coverage

Cotton made his final rehab outing Tuesday with Triple-A Nashville, throwing six scoreless innings and allowing just two hits and one walk. He struck out nine, throwing 84 pitches, something Melvin feels is important for a younger pitcher.

"It's one thing to just get your pitches in and not have results, just get back here to get back here. But he took it really seriously his last time out, he knew to a point where it would be a full complement of pitches for when he got back here," Melvin said. "We certainly feel like he can get to 100 pitches. He used all his pitches, he pitched well. We feel good with where we are with him right now."

Right-hander Frankie Montas was optioned to Triple-A Nashville to make space for Cotton. It was an eventful week and a half in the Majors for the reliever, as visa issues delayed his arrival in Toronto for the team's series there. But Melvin was encouraged by what he saw from Montas in his two appearances.

"I felt like he's making some strides," Melvin said. "There were a lot of things that went into him being sent down, and I don't know that performance really was one of them. Granted, we were going to get him back down there and get him stretched out a little bit more, which I think is good for him.

"He's forced to use more of his pitches. We're still developing a guy that we know is going to be a very talented guy for us. It's difficult for a guy like him to go up and down, but we feel like anytime we get a chance to stretch him out, he's going to be better for it once he comes back."

Worth noting

Kendall Graveman threw 81 pitches in a rehab outing Saturday in Nashville. The right-hander went 4 2/3 innings, allowing one run on four hits and striking out five. While Melvin said the team hadn't made a final decision yet, he thinks Graveman's next start may come in Oakland.

• Outfielder Jake Smolinski made 20 throws from 75 feet today, continuing in his throwing program. The A's are planning on sending him on a rehab assignment sometime in August to get at-bats as a DH.

• When asked about the approaching Trade Deadline, Melvin compared this stretch for the now-selling team to getting to the end of a game.

"It's like getting down to the eighth or ninth inning and hoping you hang on," Melvin said. "As far as the Sonny situation, obviously a lot plays into that. He's been a guy I've been really close to over the years, and has pitched some great games for us, and the fan base loves him. But it's also about the future of this organization.

"I'd be happy as heck to keep him, but I also understand if there's something we can't pass up, then the front office has to take a look at that. It can be a little consuming the last week, and when you get down to the last day or so, you just want it to get past. Looking forward to afternoon tomorrow."

Alex Simon is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter at @alexsimon99.

Oakland Athletics, Jharel Cotton