A.J. Puk will start the season on the injured list after sustaining a shoulder strain last week.
A’s general manager David Forst offered an update on Puk during media availability, saying he believes the left-handed pitcher will begin playing catch on Friday, and when the club heads out on the road, Puk will go to the alternate training site in San Jose to continue his work.
“I don’t have the full protocol from Dr. ElAttrache in front of me, but I believe he will start playing catch today,” Forst told reporters Friday. "Look, that’s a rough injury for him and for us to deal with, but all in all, I think we came out of summer spring training pretty healthy and pretty ready to go."
The A's are scheduled to play in Seattle next Friday and more than likely head there following their afternoon game against the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday.
A’s manager Bob Melvin also said on Tuesday it would “be a little while before we see [Puk],” without giving an official estimate as to when exactly that might be.
The setback of Puk was an additional wrench thrown in what looked like to be a strong starting rotation. Jesús Luzardo tested positive for coronavirus two weeks ago, and despite not feeling sick or believing he didn’t come into contact with anyone with COVID-19, he had to isolate himself for a period of time and tested negative twice at least 24 hours apart.
Luzardo is back now, and Forst hopes he’s ready to eventually join that starting rotation. The delay has the 22-year-old beginning the season coming out of the bullpen.
That’s a job Luzardo has more than proved he’s successful at, pitching in six games of relief in 2019 with a 1.50 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 12 innings which was good enough for a 0.667 WHIP.
The A's also sought to have Chris Bassitt and Daniel Mengden as part of that starting squad heading into Opening Day.