Athletics

A's Puk 'looks back to himself' after arm slot adjustment

Athletics
A.J. Puk

Six relievers pitched for the Athletics on Tuesday night in their 4-3 win over the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field.

A's reliever Burch Smith elongated his outing, throwing 3 1/3 innings after coming in during the second frame. He struck out two with no earned runs. Still, it was A.J. Puk’s outing that had a lot of A’s fans, and manager Bob Melvin, excited.

“Pretty good,” Melvin chuckled after the game. “I don’t know that this gun wasn’t a little slow earlier in the game, too. It’s the arm angle I think that it looks a lot freer for him, it doesn’t look like he has to work hard to get it, straight over the top. I know he says he feels better with it and for a first look, I can understand why he feels good with it.”

Puk adjusted by dropping his arm slot down four to six inches and topped off on Tuesday night at 98.2 mph, striking out two in one inning.

Melvin said Puk will have reliever responsibilities for the foreseeable future. 

Smith liked what he saw out of the 26-year-old as well.

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"I told him, this is the first time I've seen him in a while, that he looks back to himself and I think he dropped his arm slot a little bit, but he looks way more confident, stuff was obviously there too ... so I'm super happy for him,” Smith said. 

After a few injury setbacks, Puk, the A’s No. 2-ranked prospect, took some time to stretch out again with Triple-A Vegas. Over his last 10 appearances with the team, he struck out 18 in 17 2/3 innings.