The Oakland Athletics’ rotation plans for the 2020 season have had a wrench thrown into them after the team announced that top prospect and left-handed pitcher AJ Puk will head to the injured list with a left shoulder strain, knocking him out of action for an unknown length of time.
Puk, who impressed in a late season cameo with the A’s as a reliever to the tune of a 3.18 ERA in 11.1 innings on the mound, was slated to be one of Oakland’s key rotation options for the 60-game 2020 regular season.
The former Florida Gator, who was rated as MLB.com’s #60 ranked prospect in the sport heading into the 2020 season, was the sixth overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft and signed with the A’s for a hefty $4.1 million signing bonus.
His shoulder injury seems to be of significant concern for the A’s and manager Bob Melvin. The veteran skipper said of his planned #5 starter, “The fact that we have to put him on the (injured list) right away, obviously there’s a level of concern. We want to make sure we get this right before we throw him back out there again.”
There is no word currently on how long it may be until the big lefty is ready to make his A’s debut in the 2020 season.