Jharel Cotton was hoping 2018 would be his breakout season. Unfortunately, the injury gods had other plans.

Cotton tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow during spring training and underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery in March. The recovery process has been long and often lonely, but the 27-year-old right-hander can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

"My arm feels great," Cotton told NBC Sports California. "No setbacks so far, which is great. I think I'm stronger. My body feels a lot better. My mind is good. I had a full year to work on all of those things, so I'm trying to get back now."

The average recovery time following Tommy John surgery is between 12 and 15 months, which would put Cotton on track to return sometime during the first half of the 2019 season.