OAKLAND -- The Athletics have been without pitcher Jesús Luzardo since he was demoted to Triple-A in June. Since then he has shown signs of improvement, with a few setbacks, but his latest outing left A’s manager Bob Melvin optimistic.
In six innings, Luzardo struck out seven, giving up just two hits and one earned run on Monday night against Triple-A El Paso. Melvin received good reports back.
“Yeah, positive,” Melvin said on Tuesday. “He had a tough one the time before, much better yesterday. It’s also tough to evaluate performance in Vegas, but when they have good ones, it had to be good because you hit the ball in the air there and it tends to fly a little bit.
"So hopefully he could build off of that.”
Luzardo was sent down from the A’s after allowing 11 home runs and posting a 6.87 ERA in 38 innings, struggling with pitch location.
Melvin says once Luzardo figures that out, along with a few other things, he could be reunited with the A's.
“Performance, and getting some of his confidence back,” Melvin said. “He’s a difference-maker when he’s confident.”
Luzardo's role, when he returns, remains uncertain. However, A's general manager David Forst told NBC Sports California last month that part of his stint in Triple-A will be for him to be stretched out again as a starter.
Originally, the 23-year-old was supposed to be stretched out for that role this season. His MLB debut in 2019 was out of the bullpen. He came as advertised.
In 12 innings, he struck out 16, boasting a 1.50 ERA.
Since then, he has been back and forth between starting and relieving.
For now, in Triple-A, Luzardo has a 6.75 ERA with 22 strikeouts. That's good enough for a 1.71 WHIP.
Melvin didn’t provide a timeframe for Luzardo’s return.