Despite wearing a different uniform now, Jesús Luzardo will continue to cheer on his former teammates.
Luzardo took to Twitter on Tuesday night and commented on what A’s manager Bob Melvin said in providing a minor-league update on left-handed pitcher A.J. Puk.
“It’s just a matter of time before everyone sees what this man can really do,” Luzardo tweeted.
It was a simple tweet, but it spoke volumes about Luzardo's character.
In his last four outings with Triple-A Las Vegas, Puk has struck out eight across 7 2/3 innings. He now boasts a 2.35 ERA and is limiting opposing batters to just a .267 average.
Puk and Luzardo came up through the ranks together in the minors, being the top two left-handed pitching prospects within the A’s organization and across the league. Their journeys somewhat mirrored one another's, experiencing setbacks all while having lots of eyes on them.
Luzardo’s journey was impacted by a COVID-19 delay heading into the 2020 season and not quite finding his footing going back and forth between a starter and reliever role.
Puk has been hampered by injuries. Heading into the 2021 season, he had landed on the A’s Injured List with a strained left bicep. Still, his stuff remained strong on the mound from what I’ve heard around the PCL circuit.
Puk and Luzardo’s bond wasn't limited to the field. They were roommates during the offseason, living in Florida, talking about their similar goals and work ethics. Puk would join Luzardo’s family for dinner, where he would fill his belly with delicious arepas -- a Latin American cuisine that caused Puk to smile every time he mentioned them.
Now that Luzardo is a member of the Miami Marlins, having been traded around the deadline last week in exchange for veteran outfielder Starling Marte, his goals haven’t changed, either.
Luzardo earned his first win as a member of his hometown team on Monday night at loanDepot Park. Across five innings, he allowed three runs on four hits, striking out five.
Despite the entire A’s team, especially the starters, being sad about Luzardo’s departure, it was a different kind of sad. They said they knew Luzardo would always support them and stay in touch. One would imagine Puk felt it more personally. Luzardo was with Puk in Vegas when he got traded.
Alas, Luzardo is always one to show support for his teammates, and that won't change even if they're on different rosters.