A's pitching prospect Jesus Luzardo opens up about recent lat strain

Ali Thanawalla

A's pitching prospect Jesus Luzardo opens up about recent lat strain

Coming off a strong 2018 season, Jesus Luzardo entered 2019 with a shot at making the A's Opening Day rotation.

The A's top pitching prospect posted impressive numbers during spring training and it appeared like he might break camp with the big league club. But a left rotator cuff strain sidelined the 21-year-old for the first two months of the 2019 season.

Luzardo's return from the rotator cuff injury lasted just five outings, though. While rehabbing with Triple-A Las Vegas, Luzardo suffered a Grade 2 lat strain on July 2. That injury sidelined him for another four weeks.

Luzardo returned to the mound on Aug. 5 in the Arizona League and completed three perfect innings for High-A Stockton on Saturday.

In a recent interview with The Athletic's Melissa Lockard, Luzardo opened up about the severity of the lat strain.

“It was something in my lower- to mid-back,” Luzardo told Lockard. “It was completely different. Honestly, I didn’t think it was a big deal until the next day that we got the MRI results back. I wasn’t even too worried about it that night, but it ended up being something worse than what I thought.”

Despite the second injury only keeping Luzardo out for one month, he revealed to Lockard that it was tough to deal with mentally.

“I was so close when I got to Vegas again and got hurt again,” Luzardo said. “It took about four to five days just to get out of that (mental) slump, but after that it was fine. I just had to get going again and wanted to get back at it and not lose the whole year.”

So far this season, Luzardo has pitched 24 1/3 innings across three levels. He's allowed just six earned runs and struck out 37 batters.

If Luzardo can avoid another injury, he should be an option for the A's in September, and maybe even October, if they reach the postseason.

[RELATED: A's release 2020 schedule]

If they A's want to limit the number of innings he pitches this season, they can use him out of bullpen and pitch him an inning at a time. The left-handed pitcher could be dominant in that role.

The catch there is that Luzardo has to stay healthy.

A's top pick Logan Davidson among spring training non-roster invitees

A's top pick Logan Davidson among spring training non-roster invitees

The A's aren't playing it safe with 2019 first-round draft pick Logan Davidson.

The No. 29 overall pick is among 10 non-roster players the A's invited to spring training Friday.

Davidson, a shortstop, isn't on the A's 40-man roster, but the invite will give him a chance to compete in big league camp. Barring an incredible showing in the Cactus League, the A's No. 7 prospect won't break camp with the A's. But this opportunity allows him to try to impress A's coaches.

In 54 games with the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters, Davidson slashed .239/.345/.332 with seven doubles, four homers and 12 RBI.

[RELATED: A's compare Davidson to Corey Seager]

The other invitee to keep an eye on in camp is A's No. 6 prospect Nick Allen. While small in stature, the middle infielder is an incredible defensive player and could find himself playing for the A's at some point in 2020. While Marcus Semien is blocking Allen's path at shortstop, the 21-year-old could get a look at second base if none of the other in-house options pan out for Oakland.

Three other top-30 prospects were invited to spring training: Outfielder Greg Deichmann (No. 17), right-handed pitcher Brian Howard (No. 22) and right-handed pitcher Parker Dunshee (No. 24).

MLB rumors: A's 'showing interest' in free-agent reliever Sergio Romo


MLB rumors: A's 'showing interest' in free-agent reliever Sergio Romo

Sergio Romo might be headed back to the Bay Area -- just to the opposite side.

The former Giants relief pitcher is a free agent, and according to MLB Network's Jon Morosi, the A's reportedly are interested in acquiring his services.

Romo, 36, is a 12-year veteran who spent the first nine seasons of his career with the Giants, playing a major role in helping San Francisco win three World Series titles in a span of five years. Over 60 1/3 combined innings with the Marlins and Twins last season, he posted a 3.43 ERA and 1.11 WHIP with 60 strikeouts and 20 saves.

[RELATED: How Forst thinks state of free-agent market will impact A's]

Liam Hendricks has Oakland's closer spot locked down, but with Blake Treinen being non-tendered, there could be one or more openings in the A's bullpen. Given that Romo has filled just about every possible role within a major league bullpen over the course of his career, he could be an ideal fit if the price is right.