The Oakland Athletics should err on the side of caution when dealing with pitcher A.J. Puk as he navigates his latest shoulder issue.
Spring training is the time for pitchers to knock the rust off after long periods of not having a throwing routine. The muscles are going to ache, the arms are going to need stretched out, and the slightest injury is cause for concern.
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The A’s have decided to shut down the pitcher even though an MRI didn’t reveal any damage. Giving him a few days of extra rest and then working him back slowly is the right decision here.
Puk, really hasn’t gotten the chance to showcase his enormous potential at the big-league level. The former first-round pick has pitched in relief in just ten games with the A’s.
He sat out all of the 2018 season and most of the 2019 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Throughout his college and minor league career, Puk has boasted strong strikeout numbers. The 6-foot-7 left-hander is a hard thrower and will be a vital part of the A’s rotation once he’s fully healthy.
The A’s must not take any chances with his health and now in the early parts of spring training is the time to give him extra rest.
Puk seems a good fir for the fifth spot in the Oakland Athletics rotation behind Mike Fiers, Sean Manaea, Frankie Montas, and Jesus Luzardo. Five solid arms who figure to do the bulk of the A’s heavy lifting this season.
Thus far in spring action, A.J. Puk has pitched in two games spanning three innings. He has allowed two hits and struck out two while walking one. Puk will be re-evaluated in the next couple of days and must be cleared before throwing on the diamond again.