Oakland Athletics: A.J. Puk injures shoulder, will start season on the IL

Oakland Athletics(Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images)
Oakland Athletics(Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images) /

Oakland Athletics pitcher A.J. Puk is set to begin the season on the Injured List.

The Oakland Athletics are just days away from finally kicking off their 2020 season. The anticipation is building, but they’ve already been hit with a pretty significant blow before the season has even started.

Manager Bob Melvin announced on Tuesday that pitcher A.J. Puk would miss at least two weeks with a shoulder strain and would thus begin the year on the Injured List.

The 25-year-old is scheduled to receive a cortisone injection in his shoulder and rest for 48 hours before a two-week ramp-up period will begin. After that, the hope is to have him return sometime next month.

This is obviously a major blow to an A’s pitching staff that looked — and still does look — pretty solid on paper. Puk is widely regarded as one of baseball’s best pitching prospects and only sits behind fellow young hurler Jesus Luzardo on the team in that regard.

Unfortunately, now both Puk and Luzardo won’t be at 100 percent to begin the year with the latter still recovering from the effects of his positive COVID-19 test.

What will the Oakland Athletics do now that A.J. Puk is injured?

Puk was expected to begin the year as the A’s fifth starter behind the likes of Frankie Montas, Sean Manaea, Mike Fiers, and Chris Bassitt. Now with Puk out, the expectation is that Daniel Mengden will step into his role.

Rather than rush him back given the shortened season, Melvin indicated that the team was going to take its time with Puk and make sure that he is fully healthy before having him return to the mound.

"““It’s going to be a little while before we see him. They’re not going to push him for two weeks, and that will not alter no matter how good he feels during that period of time.”"

Essentially, he’ll be sidelined for the foreseeable future. The two-week timetable is simply an optimistic outlook and it’s when they’ll next evaluate his status. But it’s very probable that he remains out for longer.

This is a similar injury to the one suffered by Puk back in the spring that would have forced him to miss the start of the regular season if it began on time. Unfortunately, he seems to have reaggravated the same injury and will be out until further notice.

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Here’s to hoping that Puk could return to action before long and that he can still find some level of success in 2020.