Oakland Athletics: A.J. Puk to undergo shoulder surgery

Oakland Athletics, A.J. Puk (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images)
Oakland Athletics, A.J. Puk (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images) /

Oakland Athletics’ young left-handed pitcher A.J. Puk is set to undergo shoulder surgery.

It’s been a rough year for young Oakland Athletics‘ pitcher A.J. Puk. The 25-year-old prospective starter has been dealing with a shoulder injury that first popped up back in the spring.

And although he’s made significant progress towards a return multiple times now, it appears as though he’ll be sidelined for the foreseeable future.

Manager Bob Melvin announced on Friday that Puk is set to undergo surgery on his left shoulder leaving him out indefinitely. The A’s did not reveal a timetable for his recovery, but it’s fair to assume that he won’t be taking the field any time soon.

The surgery is set to be performed by Dr. Neil ElAttrache, the same person who performed Tommy John surgery on Puk’s left elbow back in 2018. Hopefully this recovery period will be significantly shorter than his last.

The Oakland Athletics first became aware of A.J. Puk’s shoulder issues back in March.

Puk’s shoulder troubles began this spring while pitching down in Arizona. During the first week of March, the A’s opted to shut Puk down with what they called a shoulder strain and his possible rehab time remained uncertain when everything was shut down.

The hope was that the extra time off during the shutdown would allow him to return whenever the season actually started. And for a little while, that seemed to be the case.

By the middle of July, Puk appeared to be well on his way to being re-inserted into the starting rotation ahead of the start of the season. That was before the shoulder issues popped up again and he was shut down once more.

Eventually, Puk began training at the A’s alternate site in San Jose eyeing a return to the majors in a bridge reliever role for the final portion of the regular season and into the postseason.

That was before his shoulder began to bother him for a third time prompting the A’s to shut him down for good and reassess the situation. They ultimately decided that surgery was the right path to take and the result is that he’ll likely miss the remainder of the season.

At this stage, the A’s just want Puk to return healthy in time for next season. Shoulder injuries are nothing to scoff at and it’s best to give their young pitcher time to rehab rather than rush him back for the postseason.

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It’s disappointing, sure. But that’s just the reality of the situation.