Athletics

A.J. Puk to start playing catch after strain, A's GM David Forst says

A.J. Puk to start playing catch after strain, A's GM David Forst says

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.

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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. 

Stephen Piscotty hits game-tying grand slam in ninth inning vs. Giants

Stephen Piscotty hits game-tying grand slam in ninth inning vs. Giants

The 10,000-plus cardboard cutouts at Oracle Park got to witness something great Friday night. 

Following Matt Olson’s solo home run in the top of the ninth, A’s outfielder Stephen Piscotty cleared the bases with a grand slam to tie it at 7-7 against the Giants. 

Piscotty knew it was gone as soon as he hit it.

Piscotty's grand slam was off of Trevor Gott, who ended up up surrendering five runs in the inning before being removed.

According to MLB.com’s Sarah Langs, Piscotty is the 14th player in MLB history with multiple ninth-inning grand slams in a season.

Piscotty hit a walk-off grand slam against the Texas Rangers over a week ago to give the A’s a 5-1 victory. 

There’s something about grand slams and the A’s this season. 

Olson started the season off with a walk-off grand slam over the Los Angeles Angels. It was the first game in league history that went into extra innings since the new rule was implemented in the 2020 season to have a runner on second base beginning in the 10th.

There's something special there. 

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Mark Canha fills Ramón Laureano void with impressive catch vs. Giants

Mark Canha fills Ramón Laureano void with impressive catch vs. Giants

It’s not impossible, but it’ll be difficult to replace Ramón Laureano as he serves his four-game suspension for his role in the benches clearing brawl between the A's and Astros on Sunday.

However, between Chad Pinder and Mark Canha, at least defensively, the A’s should be OK.

Watch this catch by Canha on a deep fly ball hit by Evan Longoria in the bottom of the sixth of Friday night’s game against the Giants:

Canha was on the ground for a while, but appeared to be fine and was back in the game hitting moments later.

The catch was very Laureano-esque if you ask me.

Canha also has been pretty productive at the plate, collecting15 hits in 18 games this season, and he has proven he’s a diverse option in the outfield. He can even be used as the designated hitter if needed.

If that doesn’t work, there’s always Pinder who showed off his own defensive skills against the Los Angeles Angels earlier this week.

A’s manager Bob Melvin has always appreciated versatility, so knowing he has a couple options to fill that void helps.

[RELATED: Why A's will miss Laureano greatly upon suspension]

Laureano reportedly won the appealed on his original six-game suspension after he had an on-field confrontation with Astros’ hitting coach Alex Cintrón who, as Laureano admitted, made a comment about the A’s centerfielder’s mother. He served the first of his four-game suspension Friday.

Cintrón is serving his 20-game suspension for his role in the incident.