Jesus Luzardo showed he could be a force to be reckoned with in his September callup last year. He picked up right where he left off on Saturday.
It is easy to dream when it comes to Jesus Luzardo. Arguably the top left handed pitching prospect in the game, Luzardo has an impressive high octane fastball, devastating changeup, and workable breaking pitch that could allow him to dominate for years to come.
He had a promising debut in Oakland last season, allowing just two runs on five hits and three walks 12 innings, striking out 16 batters. That dominance carried over into spring training, where Luzardo allowed just one run on four hits and a walk in his 8.1 innings, striking out 13 batters.
Slated to be the A’s fourth starter this season, expectations were sky high. Then he tested positive for COVID-19, pushing him out of the rotation, at least for the time being. However, given his previous dominance, there was every chance that Luzardo could be a key piece in the bullpen – if he could shake off the rust.
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It did not take long to show that would be the case. On Saturday, manager Bob Melvin lived up to his statement that Luzardo could get a look as soon as the second game of the season. With Sean Manaea only able to last through 4.2 innings, Luzardo was summoned from the bullpen to begin the sixth inning.
Luzardo picked up right where he left off. He pitched three innings, throwing a total of 44 pitches. In that outing, he allowed just one hit and a walk, striking out two batters as he picked up where he left off. Amazingly, Luzardo said that he did not feel as though he had his best stuff, that the ball did not explode out of his hand as it did during a live batting practice.
If that was not Luzardo at his best, the A’s have to be salivating at the thought of what he could be. He had not pitched in any of the exhibition games, nor the summer camp scrimmages, due to his positive test. However, that did not matter, as Luzardo continued his dominance in the beginning of his major league career.
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Jesus Luzardo picked up where he left off, both in spring training at the end of the 2019 season. It may not be much longer before that dominance comes to the Oakland A’s rotation.